RAYMOND — A baby thrown 25 feet from a car during a violent collision Thursday night was being treated Friday for a fractured skull and was called "lucky" by police.
Six-month-old Gabriel James Blaney was tossed from his mother's Toyota Corolla at 5 p.m. at the intersection of North Raymond and Ledgehill roads when the mother, Chynna Blaney, 19, of Raymond, ran a stop sign and collided with a pickup truck, said Capt. Don Goulet of the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office.
"The rear of the car was pretty much peeled off," Goulet said. That caused the seat belt that was holding the child safety seat to detach from the frame of the car, he said.
The car seat stayed loose in the backseat while the baby slipped from his straps and was ejected 25 feet into snow. Goulet said he didn't believe Gabriel's injuries were life-threatening.
"Lucky baby," he said.
He said Chynna Blaney is expected to be charged with failing to stop at a stop sign and distracted driving. She had been driving east on Ledgehill Road, heading to a relative's house, when she reached to adjust the volume on her GPS and missed the stop sign, Goulet said.
Blaney collided with a Ford F-150 pickup driven by Angie Horler, 35, of New Gloucester, trapping Blaney in her car. Goulet said Horler immediately checked on her own children in the truck, ages 2 and 5, then ran into the nearby woods.
"She saw Gabriel fly out of the car," the captain said. "She didn't know it was a baby, but she knew it was something odd. She's got young kids herself; she was very distraught over that. I give her a gold star for what she did."
Another blessing was the soft snow, Goulet said. "Not a tree. Not hard snow if it had rained and frozen. A rock. I mean, there's a number of things (the baby could have hit)."
Blaney and her son were taken to Maine Medical Center in Portland. The mother had been released by Friday morning, according to a spokeswoman. Information was not being released about Gabriel Blaney.
Horler was taken to Mercy Hospital in Portland for minor injuries and released, Goulet said. Her children were fine.
Reconstructing the accident will take a month. In the meantime, police have asked for help.
"I have a call into the National Highway Safety Board in Connecticut to see if they have an expert who would be willing to look at the child safety seat to see if they are able to help us any in determining why the child came out," Goulet said.
"It has created a lot of interest," he said. "Was the child safety seat defective? Was it put in correctly? Those are some of the questions we're trying to get answered, but that's not an area of expertise that we have."
He did not know the brand of car seat in Blaney's car.