Unrestrained child ejected from vehicle, critically injured in Lehigh rollover crash

Published: October 4, 2021 9:46 AM EDT
Updated: October 5, 2021 5:55 AM EDT

A 9-year-old child was critically injured after being ejected from a vehicle in a Lehigh Acres rollover crash Monday morning, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The rollover occurred around 8:30 a.m. at the intersection of 41st St. W and Olive Avenue N. The child was transported to Lee Memorial Hospital and is in critical condition.

A press release from the Florida Highway Patrol said the child has critical injuries.

The crash remains under investigation and charges are pending, troopers said.

The driver, a 35-year-old Lehigh Acres man, suffered minor injuries. Neither he nor the child were wearing seatbelts.

Neighbors came rushing to the crash site when they heard screams coming from the man, who they say, is the boy’s father.

Crash investigators say it took just moments to go from the young boy simply sitting in the front seat of a pickup truck to him being ejected and pinned underneath.

FHP said the driver of a pickup truck was backing up at a high rate of speed and ran off the road.

Annika Feliu lives in the neighborhood. “We all started running to make sure that he was OK and everything so, it was very scary to see that happen to a kid,” Feliu said.

After losing control, the driver’s vehicle flipped into a ditch, pinning the 9-year-old underneath.

“I heard yelling,” said Marilyn Divock, another neighbor. “I heard a man saying, ‘Help me! Help me!'”

Neighbors tried to help by calling 911 and frantically trying to lift the pickup truck to free the young boy. Once first responders got to the scene, they were able to successfully rescue the boy from under the truck, began CPR and then he was rushed to Lee Memorial Hospital.

“I pray that the boy is alright,” Divock said.

The relationship between the driver and child is not yet confirmed, though Divock said, “I walked out there and the dad, the driver, was pacing back-and-forth saying ‘I just killed my son. I just killed my son.’ It was horrible, and ‘Does anybody have a phone?’ So I gave him my phone and he said ‘I got to call my wife’ and he was trying desperately to get in touch with his wife…”

Crash investigators have yet to figure out why the man was backing up on this road, to begin with. Authorities did  perform a field sobriety test but have not released the results.