STOCKTON (CBS13) – A 2-year-old boy is in critical condition after he was ejected from his mother’s vehicle during a crash on Highway 4 in Stockton on Friday morning.
The crash scene was upsetting for even veteran law enforcement officers.
“He was fully ejected from the vehicle and car seat,” California Highway Patrol Officer Angel Arceo said. “It was pretty hard.”
The boy was not properly strapped into his car seat, the CHP says, and landed on the concrete after his mom crashed her SUV. The car seat that was supposed to be protecting him flew to the other side of the lane.
“It’s really traumatic for us when we arrive at the scene and see a 2-year-old boy, a helpless boy that can’t take care of himself,” Arceo said. “It’s the responsibly of the parent, and they’re not doing that.”
Rescuers airlifted the toddler to UC Davis Medical Center.
The boy’s mother, 32-year-old Kieu Tran, was taken to a local hospital for minor injuries.
As her young child fights for his life, Tran could face child endangerment charges.
She told officers she swerved to avoid hitting a piece of tire debris in the roadway. That’s when officers say she lost control and the SUV landed on its roof. Officers says she was driving about 60 mph and was wearing her seat belt.
The CHP investigation will take several weeks.
The boy’s tragedy could have been prevented if he was secured in the car seat, Arceo said.
“It’s especially hard for us because we offer a program free of charge (for car seats),” he said. “We install them here at the office.”