An infant left with severe injuries after a car accident in Maine has died in the hospital, her family said.
“We wish to extend our most humble appreciation to the extraordinary first responders at the scene, the doctors and nurses at The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital, and to all of those who have offered support, kind offerings, and heartfelt love,” the family of Gabrielle Kennedy, 10 months old, said in a statement obtained by WMTW.
“Under the most painful and tragic of situations, our family has had the opportunity to be witness to pure kindness by strangers, an outpouring of support from our community and the unwavering love and support from our family.”
Gabrielle was involved in a crash in Waterboro on Jan. 10, that saw a box truck slam into the car she was riding in.
The baby’s mother, Ellen Kennedy, who was driving the family’s car, was not injured.
According to a GoFundMe launched by the baby’s family, Gabrielle was rendered unconscious from the crash’s impact and rushed to a local hospital, from which she was airlifted to Maine Medical. She had “a major brain bleed,” the family said.
Box Truck Driver Charged
The driver of the box truck, Rene Romero, 53, was arrested and charged with aggravated driving to endanger. He appeared in court on Jan. 11 and ordered held on $10,000 bond.
Romero did not enter a plea in his first court appearance. If he makes bond, he is forbidden from driving. He does not speak English, according to the Portland Press-Herald. He sat silently during the hearing, which was translated into Spanish through a speakerphone.
Public attorney David Ferrucci told the judge that Romero understood the charge and was aware of his rights. His next appearance is slated for May 8.
Deputies with the York County Sheriff’s Office said that Romero was at fault, slamming into the SUV from behind while Kennedy was attempting to turn left from Main Street, also known as Route 202, onto Straw Mill Brook Road.
“You have to be cognizant,” Sheriff Bill King told WGME. “I mean, this individual was driving a 26-foot box truck. And again, we have witnesses that said there was no braking, or that just apparently just didn’t see the car stop.”
If convicted, Romero faces a maximum of two years in prison, some fines, and a suspension of his driver’s license.
Fatal Car Crash Statistics
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, analyzing data from the Department of Transportation, there were 37,461 deaths from car accidents in 2016, the last year full data is available for.
The deaths occurred across 34,439 fatal motor vehicle accidents.
The number means 11.6 deaths per 100,000 people and 1.16 deaths per 100 million miles traveled, although those numbers can vary widely across states. The highest deaths per 100,000 population were in Mississippi, which saw 23.1 such deaths, and the most deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled were in South Carolina, which saw 1.88 such deaths.
In Maine, there were 12.9 deaths per 100,000 population and 1.1 deaths per 100 million miles traveled in 2017.
The majority of fatal accidents are single-vehicle crashes, the institute noted.