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Video: Toddler ejected from car during Winter Haven crash

Boy recovering in ICU in Tampa hospital


WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – A 2-year-old boy who was thrown from the back window of a vehicle during a crash on Sunday is
recovering in an intensive care unit in Tampa, according to his aunt.

Police said Arteshia Cowart, 23, was driving a silver Buick LeSabre with her 2-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter in the back seat at around 5:05 p.m. She stopped at a stop sign on the corner of Avenue K NW and Highway 17 for approximately 32 seconds and then pulled into the path of a maroon Ford F-150 that was traveling north on Highway 17, the report said.

The truck hit the back left door of Cowart's car, causing the LeSabre to rotate counterclockwise and the 2-year-old boy to be ejected through the back window, authorities said.

The boy landed on the sidewalk along the outside southbound lane of Highway 17. The Buick rolled backward toward him, missing the boy by about 5 feet, officials said.

The Buick continued to roll backward until it came to rest against a van that was parked at Northgate Plaza.

Cowart and her 3-year-old daughter were taken to Lakeland Regional Health with minor injuries. The 2-year-old boy, who had been ejected from the vehicle, was flown to St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa for treatment.

His aunt told News 6 he suffered bruised lungs and bruises on his head.

There were two car seats and a booster seat in the back seat of Cowart's vehicle, but investigators said they have not yet determined if the seats were properly installed or if the children were correctly secured at the time of the crash. Neither car seat was ejected with the boy, officials said.

The driver of the Ford F-150, Bryan Whiddon, 48, did not require medical attention. His passenger, Rita McCall, 56, was taken to Lakeland Regional Health to be treated for injuries to her leg.

Police said neither speed nor impairment was a factor in the crash.


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