Evidence Suggests Seat Belts Could've Saved Toddler's Life

By KBJR News 1

July 25, 2012 Updated Jul 25, 2012 at 4:32 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - Further investigation into the tragic car accident in Washburn that left one 2-year-old dead and three other children seriously injured shows that the outcome could have been different had the passengers been wearing seat belts.

Wisconsin State Patrol accident investigators say the Chevrolet Blazer, driven by 23 year old Chelsea Cadotte, was largely intact following the rollover on South Highway 13, on Monday.

That leads officers to believe that the passengers, which included two year old Mariah Gordon--who died--four year old Miley Gordon, and six year old Carter Gordon, who were thrown from the car, would most likely not have been ejected on to the road had they been appropriately strapped in.

Officers say this is a somber reminder that proper safety measures should be a top priority when driving, especially when children are on board.

"The car seat has to be installed properly, and the child has to be in the seat properly. So, again, just putting a car seat in the vehicle, and a child in a car seat, doesn't make them safe unless you use it the way it's intended to be used," said Trooper Don Magdzas, of the WI State Patrol.

As of today, Miley remains in critical condition, while Carter, and 15-year-old Erica Gonzalez have been upgraded to fair condition.

Donations for the family are being accepted at the Big Water Café, in Bayfield.