An accident on Interstate-35 near Norwalk seriously injured a seven-year-old girl and brought traffic in the northbound lanes to a standstill for three hours today.
Iowa State Highway Patrol Lieutenant Tom Lampe says witnesses reported the vehicle was swerving on the highway before the accident. "The pick-up hit the east guard rail at the entrance to the bridge. After hitting that guard rail, it spun and hit the opposite side guard rail. At that point the passenger — a seven-year-old — was thrown from the truck and came to rest on the west side of the bridge, next to the cement rail," Lampe says.
The girl’s mother was driving the vehicle. The accident happened at about 11:15 this morning. A trooper performed CPR on the child until a helicopter arrived to fly the girl to a Des Moines hospital. The girl’s mother — the driver of the vehicle — was driven to the hospital, in an ambulance, for treatment of minor injuries.
Warren County deputies helped troopers interview witnesses and state investigators measured track marks and recorded other details at the scene of the accident. "The next step will be to reinterview people and possibly interview the driver of the pick-up," Lampe says.
Investigators are asking for the driver’s blood to be tested to determine if she was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident. Lampe says there could be a number of reasons the truck was swerving on the highway. "It could be simply reaching down for something, talking on the cell phone to mechnical to (driving) under the influence," Lampe says. "That’s what we’re trying to determine."
Investigators worked on the scene until about two o’clock and then re-opened the northbound lanes to traffic.
The pick-up had Iowa license plates.