WSP: Medical Emergency Behind Tragic Accident That Killed 10 Year Old

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An accident in Jefferson County that killed a 10-year-old girl and sent a 12-year-old girl to the hospital was caused by a driver who suffered a medical emergency, officials said. 

The Washington State Patrol troopers who responded to the scene told reporters that the fatal accident happened at mile marker 153 of U.S. Highway 101. 

The 67-year-old behind the wheel of a 2003 Toyota RAV4 suffered a medical emergency that caused her to lose consciousness. This prompted the vehicle to drift off the right shoulder and partly into an irrigation ditch. As the vehicle came out of the ditch, it struck two girls who were standing in a grassy area of a pullout off the northbound shoulder. The vehicle then continued north and eventually came to rest in a ditch. 

While the 12-year-old girl was rushed to the hospital for treatment, the 10-year-old girl was declared dead at the scene.   

Medical Emergency Auto Accidents Might Be Rare But They Still Happen

While traffic crashes caused by medical emergencies while driving account for only 1.3% of all accidents, older drivers are more likely to be behind these types of collisions than young and middle-aged drivers. When a medical emergency takes place, however, they often expose not only the driver but also others to serious risks.  

Medical emergencies often include fainting, delusions, stroke, seizure, heart attacks, and diabetes-related complications such as unexpected drop in blood sugar. 

Regulators have suggested that the addition of technology such as the Drowsy Driver Warning System can help to reduce the risk of collisions precipitated by medical emergencies. However, some medical emergencies are more serious than others and might require different solutions. 

Many accidents can be prevented if health care providers can educate patients on some of the early warning signs of a health crisis. When patients are aware of warning signs before seizure attacks, signs associated with diabetic comas, or side effects of certain medications, they can take precautions and even prevent disaster.

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