Children in critical condition following fatal Silver Springs rollover
Two children remained in critical condition Wednesday following an accident that claimed the life of one child and injured six others.
Jessica O’Brien, 15, and Zachary Saylor, 11, were listed in critical condition at Washoe Medical Center with injuries sustained in a 4:30 p.m. rollover accident in Silver Springs on Tuesday.
Seven of the children were riding in the bed of a pickup truck.
Dani Jo Baker, 11, who suffered from cerebral palsy, was pronounced dead at the scene. Dani Jo’s brother Dakota Baker, 12, and sister Destiny Baker, 14, were listed in fair condition. Her cousin, Randi Beal, 15, is listed in fair condition and 2-year-old Shaelyn Keep was treated and released.
Zachary’s friend Clinton Creiglow, 12, was listed in serious condition.
With the exception of Zachary and Clinton, the other children are related on the maternal side of their family. Their mothers are sisters.
Driver Kimberly Kautz, 31, was listed in fair condition. She has been charged with nine counts of felony drunken driving, according to Trooper Patrick McGill of the Nevada Highway Patrol.
The group was heading back from a day at Lahontan State Reservoir, said Pastor Dick Cervi of Faith Baptist Church in Silver Springs who is organizing a collection for the families.
“Any help would be a blessing,” he said.
Cervi said those at the church are familiar with the children, all of whom rode the church bus and attended service and youth programs.
Bus driver Ric Worstell said Dani Jo was a happy child, who overcame her disability with grace.
“She was sweet, always smiling, always happy,” Worstell said. He said Dani Jo had difficulty walking and using her hands.
Whenever the bus drivers would hand out candy, Dani Jo had a favorite.
“She always wanted either Tootsie Rolls or Tootsie Roll Pops,” Worstell recalled fondly. He said because of Dani Jo’s fragile state, her siblings and cousins looked out for her.
“Once they get back home, her death is going to hit them very hard.”
The accident Tuesday came only two weeks after a fatal accident July 31 which claimed the lives of Harold Wright, 63; Louis Norton, 16; and Robert Marek, 15. That accident is still under investigation, according to District Attorney Leon Aberasturi.
“People here are very sad. Everybody is heartbroken,” Cervi said.
Through the Faith Baptist Church, Cervi hopes to raise enough funds to help all of the families.
“We are going to take some offerings here at the church. They are going to need help. They are all poor families,” Cervi said.
In addition to the funeral costs for Dani Jo, Cervi said, the family is suffering further hardship from having to commute to Reno to be with the surviving children while they are in the hospital.
“Money will really help them. They don’t even know what to do. This whole family was hit at once and they don’t have anything to begin with,” he said.
He said food offerings will also be accepted and delivered to the families’ homes.
If ever there was a family in need of help, this is it, he said.
“I’ve never seen so many kids hurt at once,” he lamented, adding, “I’d like to urge parents to stop taking their kids in the back of the pickups. Please don’t let your kids ride in the back of the pickup and use the seat belts too.”
Trooper McGill agreed.
“How many more kids are going to have to get killed or seriously injured before people get it through their heads?” he said. “You need to buckle your kids up. It is so important. This truck rolled one complete time and there was not that much damage to it.”
McGill said despite the fact it’s not illegal for people to ride in a pickup truck bed, children should never be riding there.
“Those kids should not have been riding in the back of that truck. It’s stupid.”
Aberasturi said after review of the investigation report from NHP, his office will be in a better position to know what Kautz’s final charges will be.
“She could possibly be charged with DUI causing death, manslaughter and child endangerment,” he said. “Once we get the (blood alcohol test results) and we know for sure there is alcohol involved, then we can go forward.”
He expects she will be held in the Lyon County Jail on a bail of at least $100,000.
You Can Help:
To help with hospital and funeral expenses, send donations or drop off food at the Faith Baptist Church 5715 Elm St. Silver Springs, NV 89429 care of The Nine Children.