Three-year-old girl seriously injured after car rams Laval daycare
LAVAL -- A daycare owner in Laval described a harrowing scene as a Ford Focus plowed through the plate glass window of a daycare in Laval Tuesday, pinning a three-year-old girl and injuring two other children. The girl suffered serious, but not life-threatening, injuries.
The owner, Christina Strigas, said she pulled the young child from under the car after it smashed completely through the front of the Garderie Educative Bilingue Face à Face, a daycare located at a strip mall at 555 St. Martin Blvd. West. The car came to a stop within the building, pinning the child underneath.
- WATCH: Daycare owner describes her first-hand account of pulling the little girl out from under the car and how strangers helped to save the child
“I was in my office and I heard a big crash – a boom – and I came out, and one of my teachers came out and then I saw the car. When I saw the car, I panicked and started screaming,” she said, explaining that strangers came in to help as she instructed them to call 911.
“Some people came and they lifted the car. The police were on their way, so there was nobody there (yet). When the people lifted the car, I bent underneath and I took out the little girl. She was all bloody and her lips were blue and I put her on the mat,” she said.
Strigas performed CPR until the child began to spit up blood and start breathing, she said in an interview with CTV Montreal.
“Then we realized there was another little girl on the other side, and the police officer at that point came, and they took her,” said Strigas, who said that child’s condition appeared to be fine.
Three children, all three years old, were hospitalized.
The crash happened at about 2 p.m. By 4:15, all three youngsters were described as “healthy,” by Dr. Antonio D’Angelo, the ER director at Ste-Justine Hospital.
One girl, the most seriously injured, suffered trauma to her face. Her life is not in danger. D’Angelo said she is in critical but stable condition and is being investigated by the hospital’s trauma team. He said she was “in and out of consciousness.”
On Wednesday morning Ste. Justine's hospital said the girl was in stable condition, and that her parents did not want to publicize the exact nature of their daughter's injuries.
Another child was quickly discharged from hospital and the third remains there under observation, but is not seriously injured.
Police say the driver was an 80-year-old woman. So far it is unclear if she suffered from a medical condition, was unconscious or confused at the time of the crash.
"(The woman) suffered minor injuries," said Franco Di Genova of Laval police.
Investigators from Laval met with the woman on Tuesday evening, but she was confused, tired, and under medication.
Officers will meet her again Wednesday morning, while her car will be inspected at Laval police headquarters for any mechanical problems.
The three children were taken to a Level Three trauma centre at Ste-Justine Hospital, while the woman was reportedly taken to Sacre Coeur Hospital.
There are reports that several other people were injured, but not badly enough to require hospital treatment. Many of the children were napping in a back room at the time of the crash.
The daycare caters to children aged two to five years old and has a capacity of about 35.
An hour after the crash, daycare instructors left the building and took 23 children for a walk to another daycare a block away, the Garderie Apprendre et Apprecié, at 633 St. Martin St. W.
Squads of police, ambulances and firefighters were at the scene.
Parents, like Dominic Bartuccio, whose three-year-old daughter who was in the room where the incident occurred, could be seen running across the strip mall's parking lot to find their children.
“It was shocking. I’m just thinking of the three that got hurt. “(When I found it) I didn’t believe it… I came right away,” said a flustered Bartuccio. “They’re all fine. A couple of them are crying. Most of them didn’t see much.”
Another mother whose child was unharmed expressed her relief.
“I feel that I have won the lottery today,” she said. “I lived the worst day and now the best day of my life.”
Strigas said it would provide more details Wednesday about an action plan for any psychological help the children and staff may require, as well as logistical plans for the daycare moving forward. She said she will be meeting with ministry educators Wednesday to discuss those future plans, as well as with police.
Strigas said it was a difficult experience to endure.
“It was traumatizing, just very shocking, to see the little girl under the car like that. And I had to be strong for everybody. We saved them and basically that’s it. It’s really tragic what happened, I don’t know how else to explain it,” she said.
The daycare will be closed until further notice.