Toddler riding on someone’s lap in SUV of 10 people killed Platteville crash

A toddler who was sitting in someone’s lap was killed in a crash between an SUV and semi-truck on U.S. 85 at the Justin Avenue exit in Platteville, according to emergency responders.

Initial reports showed that 10 people were riding in the medium-sized SUV when the crash with a semi-truck driver occurred at about 1:17 a.m. Sunday, Platteville Gilcrest Fire Protection District spokesperson Matt Concialdi said.

According to preliminary reports, the SUV was headed northbound on U.S. 85 and turned left onto Justin Avenue (Colo. 66) when it crashed into the semi-truck.

Multiple people were ejected from the vehicle, including the adult and the child being held, as well as another adult who was holding an infant, both without car seats and unrestrained, authorities said. Police didn’t find any car seats in the SUV or at the scene of the crash.

Police and fire crews also rescued a person who was trapped in the SUV after arriving at the scene, and multiple people were taken to hospitals to be treated for injuries. “A good Samaritan” had already taken the adult and infant to a hospital before police and fire crews arrived, Concialdi added.

In addition to the child who died, five people had serious injuries, two had moderate injuries and one had a minor injury, first responders said. The semi-truck driver was cooperative and treated at the site of the crash. The infant was still in the hospital as of Thursday morning, Concialdi said.

The driver of the SUV has been arrested and is facing multiple charges, including vehicular homicide and driving under the influence, Platteville Police Chief Carl Dwyer told The Denver Post.

Multiple police, fire and emergency medical services agencies from around the area responded to the crash.

Concialdi called the crash “completely tragic” and “heartbreaking,” saying the responders are saddened by the child’s death.

“These are impactful incidents for us and some of our paramedics who were on scene said this is one of the worst calls that they’ve responded on, and they are seasoned paramedics,” he said.

The fire protection district is stressing the importance of adults wearing seat belts and children riding in secured car seats in vehicles, noting that this can reduce and even prevent injuries and deaths.

“The force of a crash is significantly stronger than a person’s ability to hold onto an infant or a child securely,” Concialdi said. “A secured car seat can reduce the risk of injury by 70 to 80%. And that’s really impactful, because we could have had a different outcome.”

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, car seats can reduce the risk of a child getting injured in a crash by 71-82% compared to seat belt use alone.

The fire protection district also cited other data from the National Safety Council that show adults wearing seat belts are 30 times less likely to be ejected from a car, and that seat belt use reduces the risk of moderate and critical injuries by 50% and the risk of death by 45%.

“If there are not enough seats in a vehicle for occupants, use a second vehicle or call for a ride-share to ensure you and your loved ones have a safe outing,” the news release stated.

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