Two Year-Old Ejected From Car – Miraculously Only Minor Injuries
A Sunday afternoon crash closed Hwy 17 in Winter Haven for three and a half hours after a child was ejected through a back window. (The child is in the hospital miraculously good condition.)
On March 25, 2018 at approximately 5:05 p.m., a silver Buick LeSabre driven by 23 year-old Arteshia Cowart of Winter Haven was stopped at the stop sign located at the corner of Ave. K NW and Hwy 17. Cowart’s two small children ages 2 and 3 were in the back seat of the vehicle.
Cowart remains at the stop sign for approximately 32 seconds and then pulls out into the path of a maroon Ford F-150 driven by 48 year-old Bryan Whiddon of Auburndale, Whiddon was travelling northbound on Hwy 17. The truck hit the driver’s side passenger door of Cowart’s car.
The impact caused the Buick to rotate counter-clockwise at which point the two year-old boy was ejected through the back window. The child lands on the sidewalk along the outside southbound lane of Hwy 17. The Buick rolls backwards towards the child missing him by an estimated 5 feet. The vehicle continues to travel backwards weaving thru cars that had stopped in the southbound lanes when the crash occurred. The Buick comes to a rest against a van that was parked in the Northgate Plaza at Hungry Howie’s Pizza.
Cowart and her three year-old daughter were transported to Lakeland Regional Health where they were both treated for minor injuries and released. Cowart’s two year-old son, who was ejected, was flown to St Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa. At the time of this writing, he is in good condition and expected to be released either this afternoon or tomorrow morning.
Whiddon did not require medical attention. However, his passenger, 56 year-old Rita McCall was transported to Lakeland Regional Health. She was listed in stable condition with injuries to her leg.
There were two car seats and a booster seat in the backseat of Cowart’s car. Investigators are working to determine if the seats were properly installed and whether the children were secured correctly.
Neither speed nor impairment appears to be factors in the crash.
The investigation is ongoing and charges are pending.