Girl ejected after brother grabs wheel, SUV hits guardrail on SR 71 Sunday

December 24, 2010

An 11-year-old Altha girl was ejected through the rear windshield of a 2000 Ford Explorer after her seven-year-old brother playfully grabbed the steering wheel of the car, causing it to go off the road and hit a guardrail, according to a report from the Florida Highway Patrol.

Ralph Willard Waterman was traveling north on SR 71, just south of John F. Bailey Road, when the vehicle went off the road around 12:29 p.m. Sunday. He reported that his son, who was sitting in the right front seat, reached over and yanked on the steering wheel, causing him to lose control of the vehicle.

The SUV veered onto the east grass shoulder of the road and collided with the south end of a metal guardrail. The vehicle rotated clockwise and continued 26 feet northeast up the ditch, coming to final rest facing northeast.

Caleigh Alexis Waterman was ejected on impact. Her father told the trooper the girl got up and walked back toward their vehicle, despite receiving incapacitating injuries. She was transported to a hospital by Calhoun EMS.

Waterman was cited for failing to use a seatbelt, having two passengers under the age of 18 who were not wearing their seatbelts and driving with a suspended, canceled or revoked license.

The accident was investigated by FHP Trooper Wes Harsey.

The Waterman vehicle is shown where it came to rest after hitting a guardrail around midday Sunday.

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