TEXARKANA, AR (KSLA) - Firefighters say it's a miracle that an 8-month-old infant thrown from a car in a crash Friday evening in Texarkana survived.
"There had to be some kind of divine intervention for her to end up being okay," said a clearly amazed Texarkana firefighter Josh Moore, who says family members told them when they arrived on the scene that the infant had been thrown from their car and that they could not find her.
It happened around 7 p.m. on I-30 eastbound near mile marker 3. The drainage grate sits in the middle of the interstate median, about 35 feet from the roadway.
"We immediately began searching in the hay," recalled Moore. "A Good Samaritan was already out here searching in the hay and he claimed he heard something in this general direction."
Sure enough, with the removal of a layer of hay from a drainage grate, they made the amazing discovery.
"The baby at the time - the 8-month-old - was actually sitting down in the grate, sitting up and looking up at us waiting for us to pull her out. She wasn't screaming, she wasn't crying, was just sitting there waiting for us."
"We reached down there and she more or less had her hands up for somebody to pick her up. It took 3 of us to work her around the grate and get her back up through," said Smith.
The little girl was immediately evaluated for injuries. EMTs found little more than a scratch on her forehead.
"There had to be some kind of divine intervention for her to end up being okay the way she was," Moore said.
"To be ejected from that all the way down this hill," added TAFD Capt. Charlie Smith.
"Yeah, a good 25 feet away from this grate right here and end up being okay is just simply amazing," continued Moore. "Up until we heard her, I was just worried about it being more of a recovery rather than a rescue, but once we heard her, it was just a sigh of relief."
"So many times we go out and things aren't okay. And just during the holidays here to have a positive just feels good," said an emotional Capt. Smith.
None of the other 4 people in the car at the time of the crash were seriously injured, but all were taken to the hospital for evaluation.
No names have been released, but officials say the family is from Hope, AR. Texarkana, AR police have since confirmed that the car seat, which was found outside the vehicle when first responders arrived, was not properly installed and that the child was not properly restrained in the seat at the time of the crash. There were no citations related to the lack of proper child restraints, however.
The driver of an 18-wheeler that is believed to have clipped the family's car and causing the crash is being cited for an improper and unsafe lane change.