Mom says 6-year-old girl hurt in big rig crash may not walk again
Around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Kristina Andarus was riding in the backseat of her mom's Kia Sorento when the SUV was struck by a Chevrolet Aveo and a big rig on state Route 125 just south of Interstate 8.
Kristina's mother Aneta said she was driving her own mother and two daughters to have lunch with a friend when they were hit.
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"My baby, she's not doing OK," Aneta told FOX 5. "Her spine is damaged. She may not walk anymore."
Investigators said the big rig was heading southbound on SR-125 in La Mesa when for unknown reasons it veered to the left and smashed through a metal guardrail. It continued across three lanes of northbound Route 125 and crashed into a concrete barrier. It crossed three lanes of the connector ramp from Route 125 to eastbound I-8 and came to rest partially blocking the ramp.
The big rig hit a green Chevrolet Aveo. Both vehicles then crashed into the Sorento. The two women in the Aveo were killed.
Moments after the crash, Aneta, suffering from her own injuries, somehow found the strength to help her family.
"I don't know how I pulled myself out," she said. "I just opened the back of the car. I took them out and ran away. The car was smoking."
Kristina and Aneta's mother bore the brunt of the impact.
"The car flipped on the passenger side so my mom and my baby got the most," she said.
Kristina was barely alive when Aneta reached her.
"One second, one second I could lose my baby. She almost passed away," Aneta said.
At that moment, a nurse from a nearby car came over to help and saved her daughter's life.
"She gave her CPR and she started breathing again. I just want to say thank you for her," Aneta said.
Kristina suffered spinal injuries and was taken to Rady Children's Hospital, where she underwent surgery Wednesday night.
After an initial investigation, the California Highway Patrol said Kristina did not appear to be properly restrained in a booster seat.
Her 4-year-old sister Chloe did not suffer serious injuries. Aneta's mother was taken to a hospital and was expected to be OK.
Four others were injured in the crash, including a woman who was driving the big rig and a man who was sleeping in the cab.