SPOKANE, Wash. — The mother of a little girl is crediting a car seat for saving her child’s life in a fatal car crash near Loon Lake.
Catherine Howell posted on Facebook about the crash. She said her daughter, Joy, was ejected from the car during the crash. She was found 60 yards away from the crash site, Howell’s husband Josh said. Joy was taken to the hospital overnight for observations.
Joy escaped the wreckage with only minor injuries and is doing well. Howell said she has some little bumps on her forehead.
"She was ejected and by no means should she have survived the crash, so it's just a miracle," Howell said.
Howell credits that miracle to a well-installed car seat. However, Washington State Patrol said that car seat didn't fit inside Howell's vehicle properly, despite her efforts to strap it in securely with the seatbelts.
“Defensive driving and a properly fitted and installed car seat saved Joy’s life. Thank you Graco for your product. We will be throwing away this car seat, but we will replace it with another one of your products,” Howell wrote on Facebook.
Howell's Facebook post has since gone viral and she said she hopes it will educate people about the benefits of car seat diligence.
"The car seat is the one thing you buy specifically to save your child's life, so if you're not doing it properly you are ruining its design," she said. "Every time you put your child in the car seat it's important."
Howell’s mother Anna Kenney was killed in the crash. In the Facebook post, she said, “Thank you Mom for looking out for my baby girl at your own expense. I love you more than words can express, I will see you again. Don’t worry mom, Joy is just fine.”
"Joy was everything to [my mother]," Howell said. "All she could talk about was Joy. I mean that baby was the world to her."
Washington State Patrol officials said Kenney was driving northbound on Highway 395 three miles south of Loon Lake when she lost control, cross the center line and was hit by two cars. Kenney was pronounced dead at the scene.
The family has created a GoFundMe for assistance with funeral arrangements.
The drivers of the other two cars were injured but were not taken to the hospital.