NELSON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) - A toddler was killed, and two other young children and a woman were injured in crash that police said was caused by a distracted driver in northern Kent County on Tuesday.
The accident happened at the intersection of 17 Mile Road and Myers Lake Avenue NE in Nelson Township, which is just east of Cedar Springs.
John Heeringa, 65, of Howard City, was driving his Ford F-150 north on Myers Lake Avenue NE with his dog in the truck's cab, police told 24 Hour News 8. The dog hopped from the back seat to the front seat, distracting Heeringa, causing him to drive through a stop sign at the intersection.
The truck collided into the rear, driver's side door of a Ford Explorer Sport Trac that was traveling west on 17 Mile Road NE, police said. The Explorer Sport Trac was being driven by 33-year-old Paula Zuniga of Cedar Springs.
Zuniga had three children with her, and they were all and secured in approved child seats, according to a police news release.
When Heeringa's truck hit the Explorer Sport Trac, 2-and-a-half-year-old Oscar Zuniga was ejected because the child restraint seat failed, a sergeant at the scene told 24 Hour News 8 Tuesday. Oscar was killed instantly.
The undersheriff said Wednesday the sergeant released preliminary information, and it's too early to determine if that car seat actually failed.
The undersheriff said investigators now believe that two of the children in Paula's vehicle were ejected. That second child, 3-year-old Alex Salgado, is listed in fair condition at the hospital. Aero Med transported Alex to a hospital for treatment to head injuries. He is listed in fair condition.
The third child, 1-year-old Gretta Selgado, was not seriously injured and transported to Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids.
Paula was taken to Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital via ambulance after suffering minor injuries in the wreck.
Neither Heeringa nor his dog were injured.
No tickets were issued Tuesday. The case will be forwarded to the Kent County Prosecutor's Office to determine if charges will be filed.
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