WASHOE VALLEY - Eight people, including a pregnant woman and five children, were injured when they were thrown from a mini-van Thursday afternoon after a tire blew out as they drove through Washoe Valley, authorities said.
Three adults and the children - one of whom was still strapped into a car seat - were thrown from the eight-passenger 1990 Ford Aerostar van when it rolled "multiple times" in the median two miles north of Lakeview Hill, according the Nevada Highway Patrol.
The accident happened about 12:20 p.m. as the van was southbound on Highway 395 into Carson City, Trooper Todd Hartline said.
"There were children everywhere," he said. "This is why we want people to wear their seatbelts."
The only passenger to remain inside the vehicle had her seatbelt on, Hartline said.
"All the occupants were ejected due to the lack of being restrained," he said.
The van's contents - a tiny black patent leather shoe, a child's size 6 sandal, clothing, a diaper bag - were strewn about the scene. Portions of the shredded rear right tire were found 50 to 75 yards north of the wreckage in tire tracks left by the careening van.
Witnesses said the victims, from Carson City, all appeared to be female. The children's ages were estimated to be from 18 months to 8 years old. Their identities were being withheld, Hartline said.
"We're not going to release names pending the status of what happens to these people," he explained.
He said four of the victims appeared to have "life-threatening injuries," and were taken by Care Flight helicopter to Washoe Medical Center. All three of Care Flight's fleet of choppers were dispatched to the call, landing and taking off from the northbound lanes.
One of the women was in the last trimester of pregnancy, said Eric Gavin of REMSA. The unborn child's condition is unknown.
Hartline said the child in the car seat, which was not strapped to the vehicle, appeared uninjured, despite the fact that the car seat flew through the front windshield.
The child strapped into the car seat was found on the dash above the engine, said Mark Regan, a Nevada Division of Forestry firefighter who happened on the scene as he headed to his son's eighth-grade graduation at Eagle Valley Middle School.
Another child, he said, was thrown clear of the van through the windshield.
"One baby had a pretty severe head injury," Hartline said. "Both the passenger and driver were in bad shape."
Northbound traffic from Lakeview Hill was diverted to East Lake Boulevard and Old Highway 395 for about an hour. One southbound lane of travel was open. By 3 p.m. the wreckage had been cleared and traffic was moving normally.
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