7-year-old girl killed after falling from moving SUV on Freeway 5 in Santa Clarita area; Mother and boyfriend arrested

LOS ANGELES COUNTY (KABC) — A 7-year-old girl was brutally killed over the weekend of July 4 when she fell from the back of a moving SUV on Freeway 5 in Newhall Pass near Santa Clarita and was struck by several people vehicles, authorities said.

It happened around 3 a.m. Saturday along the north lanes of the 5 Freeway off Weldon Canyon Road.

The California Highway Patrol said the girl fell from the back of a 1999 Lincoln Navigator being driven by her mother, identified as 28-year-old Veronda Gladney.

Investigators said several vehicles hit the girl at highway speed.

“[The girl] was in the extreme rear of the 1999 Lincoln Navigator,” said CHP Ofc. Joshua Greengard. That window was already broken and it appears she fell out of the vehicle and then tragically died.”

Greengard said the girl wasn’t strapped into a child seat when she somehow fell out of the broken rear window.

Gladney’s friend Michael Branch was also in the SUV. The two were arrested, according to authorities, on child endangerment charges, although no formal charges have been filed.

Greengard said he has never seen such a tragic accident in the 14 years he has been with CHP.

“I’ve never seen a child fall out of a moving vehicle,” Greengard said. “I’ve been to a lot of tragedies in my time, but this one is very unfortunate. It’s very sad.”

California law states that children under the age of 8 must be secured in a car seat or booster seat in the back seat of a vehicle.

Children who are 8 years old or taller than 4ft 9in can be secured in a booster seat but must be secured with at least a seat belt.

Greengard said witnesses – including drivers who hit the child – were all distraught.

He said investigators interviewed Gladney, who was also in pain.

“I know from other officers that she was also distressed,” Greengard said.

This incident is still being investigated and anyone with information is urged to contact the CHP Newhall Area Office at 661-600-1600.

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https://abc7.com/7-year-old-girl-killed-child-falls-out-of-suv-5-freeway-newhall-pass/12025058/ 7-year-old girl killed after falling from moving SUV on Freeway 5 in Santa Clarita area; Mother and boyfriend arrested

Laura Coffey

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