A mother and her three children were hospitalized Tuesday after driving off the edge of the Hwy 10 hill and falling 250-300 feet to the bottom of the ravine.
Rebecca Likens, age 29, was driving a 2002 Chevy Trailblazer south on Hwy 10 when the accident occurred. Three of her children, ages 1, 9, and 10, were passengers in the vehicle.
THP Trooper Danny Fisher said that as she was driving south on the hill, she encountered another vehicle driving north that was partially in her lane. She pulled right to avoid the vehicle, and dropped off the right side of the roadway, then over corrected. The Trailblazer “slingshotted” across the roadway, went over the guardrail on the other side, and fell 250-300 feet, coming to rest in the middle of the creek bed.
Fisher said that the vehicle’s position and thick tree cover made it very hard to see from Hwy 10. Eventually, it was the screams for help that allowed responding units to locate them.
“She was able to get a call out on her cell phone,” said Fisher. “She called 911, or called her husband and he called 911, I’m still not sure… but somehow she got a call out on her cell phone and notified them of the accident.
“Then we kept looking for her and couldn’t find her. When I started driving back up the hill, I went with my windows down, because me and the ambulance had gone all the way to the bottom of the [Hwy 10] hill and couldn’t see anything. Then I came back up with my windows down, and I could hear them screaming.”
The driver’s husband, Donald Likens, was among the first to arrive on the scene, about the same time that Fisher arrived. He and a young man who was with him were the first to climb down into the ravine after his family.
About a dozen others from the rescue squad, fire department, and EMS followed them down. “They carried the two youngest children up in their arms, and then they had to use a rope and basket system for the oldest child and the mother, due to their injuries,” said Fisher.
Rebecca and the oldest daughter remained in stable condition at Vanderbilt, as of Wednesday afternoon. The oldest child had a broken arm and leg, according to Fisher, and the mother is being treated for a possible spinal injury. The two youngest children were treated and released.
Lafayette Constable Tom Dallas, among the first to climb down into the ravine, said they were apparently all wearing seatbelts. “Lucky… the kids were strapped in, if they hadn’t been they would have been flying all over the place; that’s what kept them in the vehicle till it reached the bottom.”