By Laura Haefeli

MODESTO (CBS13) — A mother is being touted as a hero after a near-deadly car crash on Highway 99 near Crows Landing Road over the weekend. 

The California Highway Patrol says street racers were splitting traffic when they struck several cars, including a white SUV driven by a pregnant woman who had two children in the back seat.

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CHP Officer Thomas Olsen says the SUV was struck from behind and likely never saw it coming.

“It hit the center divider wall and launched itself off the freeway onto Zeph Road. The vehicle, it appears, went end over end it hit a tree,” Olsen said.

The car was totaled on the outside, with bumpers, tail lights, and glass was thrown on the ground, but the 11-month-old and 6-year-old riding inside survived. Both were taken to an area hospital as a precaution, officials said.

“We’re lucky that the two children in the back seat for the most part unharmed,” Olsen said.

Officer Olsen says the properly-installed car seats helped save the children.

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The latest data from the CDC shows motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of death among children. In 2018, 33% of young people who died in car accidents were not buckled up.

“When we do car seat inspection, we usually find an overwhelming majority of the seats are installed incorrectly. This mom did it right. There’s no denying those children are still with us today because she did that,” Olsen said.

The mom behind the wheel did suffer major injuries as a result of this crash, though both she and her baby are expected to be okay.

CHP has not arrested a person in regards to this incident, but they did tell say charges can be brought up at a later date.

Officers say the sedan that caused the crash became disabled and the driver, identified as 25-year-old Shaw Conklin, got stuck at the scene. The other driver suspected of racing continued up the freeway.

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Anyone who may have seen the crash or what led up to is now being urged to call CHP at (209) 545-7450.