Hours after a three-vehicle auto accident near Odessa, Texas, employees of a towing company made a horrifying discovery – an injured child was still in the vehicle, overlooked by emergency responders.
The little girl, 4-year-old Daniela Flores, was found alive but unconscious in the backseat floorboard of the wrecked Grand Cherokee jeep, and first responders are now wondering how they missed her?
The jeep was driven by Ever Ortega, who reportedly told officials several times that there was no one else in the vehicle. Responders said the occupants of all three vehicles involved in the accident were alert and had gotten out of their vehicles. Ortega told them there were no other passengers.
The back doors were jammed shut from the accident, but firefighters and EMS responders had still looked through the windows of the vehicle. They saw a rear-facing infant seat and reached in to turn it over and found it empty.
But they never saw the little girl lying in the floorboard, who is now paralyzed, unconscious, unresponsive, has suffered brain damage and is fighting for her life in the hospital in Lubbock, Texas.
Being overlooked isn’t new to this child, unfortunately. Her mother has been detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (indicating she is an illegal immigrant), according to a family member, so little Daniela was in the care of her mother’s friend… who then left her in the care of Ortega.
Ever Ortega, 28, is reported to be from Oklahoma, and is being charged with intoxication assault-serious bodily injury, according to WTVM News. The accident reportedly occurred Monday, November 14.
Andrea Goodson, Public Information Coordinator for the City of Odessa, said the eight firefighters and EMS responders are “beating themselves up” over having missed seeing the child after the accident. An internal investigation has been opened, but she said there is no indication they did anything wrong.
“We don’t want this to ever happen again. This has been devastating not only for the patient and the family but for our personnel,” said Goodson. “Those men and women are passionate about their job. they signed up to do that job because they care about people.”
A family member said Ortega was taking the child to get something to eat when the accident occurred. Officials have determined she was not wearing a seatbelt.
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