NASELLE — In a story certain to generate enormous sympathy, two young children from the Astoria area were discovered by a passerby Wednesday morning between 8 and 8:30 a.m. beside a wrecked vehicle containing their deceased mother. A small girl acted alone to rescue her toddler-age sibling from the crash.
Details are still emerging and Washington State Patrol (WSP) troopers were still investigating at the scene of the wreck on State Route 401 between Naselle and Astoria at 1 p.m. Wednesday. WSP will be releasing a formal statement later.
However, Trooper Russ Winger, public information officer for WSP District 8 in Bremerton, Wash., said Wednesday afternoon that a passerby noticed something that “struck him as weird” as he passed a tree on the heavily forested highway right-of-way. There was a fresh gash on a tree by the highway.
This good Samaritan, who has not yet been identified, found a 4-year-old girl and her 2-year-old brother waiting beside their family’s wrecked vehicle, which had gone off the road. Inside was their mother, who apparently died in the crash. The 4-year-old had pulled her sibling out of the vehicle to safety. The younger child suffered “pretty serious injuries,” Trooper Winger said.
The girl was asking for help for her mommy.
The mom and children, whose names have not been released, had driven to Westport, Wash., the night before to meet the kids’ father, who the mother believed was coming into Westport in his fishing boat. It turned out he did not come into Westport. When the two adults last spoke via cell phone after midnight on Wednesday, the mother and children were still en route back to Astoria. This would indicate the children were on their own at the accident scene for as much as seven or eight hours.
The children were transported to Columbia Memorial Hospital in Astoria, where their father is now with them, Winger said.
The trooper added that if the passerby hadn’t responded as he did, it’s possible the children might have remained outside much longer. Temperatures were in the low 40s in the area over night, with rain.
This story originally appeared in Daily Astorian.