A young child rides on someone’s lap in an SUV carrying 10 people killed in Platteville crash
A toddler sitting on someone’s lap was killed in a crash between an SUV and a semi-truck on U.S. 85 at the Justin Avenue exit in Platteville, emergency responders said.
Matt Concialdi, spokesman for the Platteville-Gilchrist Fire Protection District, said initial reports showed 10 people were riding in a mid-sized SUV when the accident with a semi-truck driver occurred at about 1:17 a.m. Sunday.
According to initial reports, the SUV was northbound on US 85 and turning left onto Justin Street (Colorado 66) when it collided with the semi-truck.
Several people were removed from the vehicle, including the detained adult and child, as well as another adult who was carrying an infant, without car seats and unrestrained, authorities said. Police did not find any car seats in the SUV or at the scene.
Police and fire crews also rescued a person who was trapped in the SUV after arriving at the scene, and several people were taken to hospitals to receive treatment for injuries. Concialdi added that the Good Samaritan had already transported the adult and infant to the hospital before police and fire crews arrived.
In addition to the child who died, five people were seriously injured, two were moderately injured, and one was slightly injured, first responders said. The truck driver was cooperative and was treated at the scene. The infant was still in the hospital as of Thursday morning, Concialdi said.
The driver of the SUV has been arrested and faces multiple charges, including murder 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 incident.
Concialdi called the incident “absolutely tragic” and “heartbreaking,” saying responders were saddened by the child’s death.
He said: “These are emotional incidents for us, and some of the paramedics who were at the scene said that this was one of the worst calls they had responded to, and they are experienced paramedics.”
The Fire Protection District stresses the importance of adults wearing seat belts and children riding in secure car seats in vehicles, noting that this can reduce and even prevent injuries and deaths.
“The force of the collision is much stronger than a person’s ability to safely hold on to an infant or child,” Concialdi said. “A safe car seat can reduce the risk of injury by 70 to 80%. This is really impactful, because we could have had a different result.”
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, car seats can reduce a child’s risk of being injured in a crash by 71-82% compared to using a seat belt alone.
The fire protection district also cited other data from the National Safety Council showing that adults who wear seat belts are 30 times less likely to be ejected from a vehicle, and that seat belt use reduces the risk of moderate and critical injuries by 50% and fatalities by 45%.
“If there are not enough seats in the vehicle for passengers, use a second vehicle or request a ride-sharing service to ensure you and your loved ones have a safe outing,” the press release said.
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