Maine Infant Ejected from Car Seat During Crash
Jan. 04--An infant that was thrown 25 feet into the woods following a horrific crash Thursday night in Raymond is recovering at Maine Medical Center from injuries -- including a skull fracture -- which authorities said are serious but not life-threatening.
Gabriel Blaney was somehow thrown from his car seat, even though the seat was new, was the right size for the six-month-old and was installed correctly and facing backwards, said Capt. Don Goulet, of the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office. The harness that holds a baby in place was still buckled, he said.
"Somehow the child came out of that. It's a physics question of how did that happen," Goulet said. The car seat was still attached to the car's seatbelt following the crash, though it was dislodged from the seat itself.
The child was in the back seat of a 1999 Toyota driven by his mother, Chynna Blaney, 19, on Ledge Hill Road in Raymond at 5 p.m. Thursday. Blaney failed to stop at a stop sign and collided with a pickup traveling on North Raymond Road.
The car was destroyed and the truck badly damaged. The driver of the pickup, Angie Horler, 35, of Raymond was taken to the hospital on complaints of pain but was uninjured, as were her two children, 2 and 5.
Horler got out of the truck and heard a baby crying, though she thought at first it was a car radio. When she saw the empty car seat she was horrified, worried that a collision she was involved in might have killed a baby.
"I kept hearing this crying sound like a baby but it sounded so distant," Horler said. "I just ran toward a big snowbank thinking 'Oh my God, there must be a baby somewhere.'"
She followed the sound of the crying over a snow-covered hill and into the woods. At the bottom of the far side of the hill, despite the darkness, she saw something dark on the white snow, she said.
"I just ran toward that spot praying it was the baby," she said.
She found Gabriel Blaney lying on his side wearing a dark blue fleece snow suit, his face partially in the snow.
"There were trees everywhere. It's truly amazing this baby did not hit a tree and did not land on the road," Horler said. "I honestly think the hand of God carried this baby from the vehicle and laid it on the snow."
She gathered him up and brought him back over the hill, where the child's mother -- who was injured and had blood on her face -- gave her a blanket to help keep the baby warm.
Blaney and her baby were taken to Maine Medical Center. She was discharged from the hospital and a hospital spokeswoman said she had no information about Gabriel Blaney.
Doctors told police that the baby's most serious injury was a skull fracture.
Blaney was on an unfamiliar road and was adjusting her GPS device when she rolled through the stop sign, Goulet said. She will be issued traffic citations for failure to stop at a stop sign and being a distracted driver, he said.
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