Tragic: Two Arrested After 7-Year-Old Falls Out of Moving Car on Freeway and Dies

Early on the morning of July 2, police in Southern California got a 911 call from a driver about an “unknown stationary object” blocking a freeway. When officers arrived, they found a horrible, heartbreaking scene. The “object” was a young girl, deceased. As the investigation began, the horrifying story began to come into sharp focus. “It was determined that the unknown object was a child which had been struck by several vehicles,” the California Highway Patrol revealed in a statement, according to the Antelope Valley Press. “After initial investigations it was determined the seven- year-old female child fell out of the moving 1999 Lincoln Navigator through … an open window, and as a result sustained fatal injuries. At this time the circumstances behind how she fell out are under investigation.” Veronda Gladney, the girl’s mother, was determined to have been the driver of the vehicle the child fell from. Both Gladney and her boyfriend, Michael Branch, were arrested for child endangerment. Some people came forward saying they had seen the girl in a precarious position before the accident took place, noting that the back window of the car was missing. “[The girl] was in the very back portion of the 1999 Lincoln Navigator,” CHP officer Joshua Greengard said, according to KABC-TV. “There [were] witnesses saying that she was either hanging out or playing in the back portion.” “That window was already broken out, and it looks like she may have fallen out of the vehicle and tragically died.” The child was not strapped into a car seat. California law requires all vehicle passengers under the age of 8 to be restrained in a car seat or booster seat. Though CHP officers see a lot, Greengard said this incident was especially heartbreaking. “I got 14 years on, I’ve never had a kid falling out of a moving vehicle,” Greengard said. “I’ve been to numerous tragedies in my time, but this one is very, very unfortunate.” The incident has deeply scarred those working the case, the drivers who unintentionally struck the girl and the girl’s mother, who Greengard said was “distraught.” If nothing else, this harrowing story is a reminder to make sure that when you’re driving, your children are properly buckled up. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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