PASADENA, TX (KTRK) -- Just before 7am Tuesday, on a busy Pasadena thoroughfare -- Spencer Highway -- the lives of six people abruptly changed, including that of a young boy whose life may have changed permanently.
He was a front seat passenger in a white Mustang, and another boy, age 12, was in the backseat. The woman behind the wheel is presumed to be a relative, although police haven't yet released any names.
The Mustang struck another car -- a red sedan, in which a mother was taking her daughter to school. The back of the sedan was seriously damaged, but still the Mustang continued on. Its course, though, changed to veer into oncoming traffic, and two blocks away, it collided head-on with a pickup truck.
The front of the car crumpled. Witnesses say the woman who had been driving slumped over the steering wheel. She had an open head wound and broken bones. The boy in the back seat had non-life threatening injuries, but the six-year-old in the front seat was trapped in the wreckage. One of his small arms was severed.
The child's limb was removed by paramedics, in hopes it could be reattached at the hospital. The child was flown by Life Flight to Memorial Hermann in the medical center. Police say the boy was alert at the scene and talking. His condition has not been released by police, nor by the hospital.
In all, six people were hospitalized, including the truck driver, the woman and daughter in another car, as well as the driver of the Mustang and the two child passengers.
Pasadena Police Department spokesman Vance Mitchell said so many injuries in an accident are unusual for the city. The fact that half of the injured were children is more troubling.
Police did not initially say whether the boy was wearing a seat belt, or had been placed in a booster seat. Texas law doesn't prevent young children from riding in the front seat, but it does require them to be restrained, either by seat belt or a child safety seat.
The Texas DPS talks about the law on its web page, but also points out a study from the American Academy of Pediatrics that children sitting in the front seat during car crashes receive far more traumatic and fatal injuries than those riding properly restrained in the back seat during an accident.
The investigation into the accident and whether the driver had a medical condition, was impaired, or if the car had a mechanical problem, is now underway.