28-year-old Ever Ortega (left), Wreckage of Jeep Cherokee (right)
A tow truck driver in Odessa, Texas was called to pull the cars from the scene of a horrific wreck after responders had already cleared the scene and left. After hitching one of the three cars involved, he was shocked at what he saw hiding nearby and immediately snapped a photo and alerted authorities.
A Jeep Cherokee driven by 28-year-old Ever Ortega rear-ended one car and sideswiped another, causing major damage to all three vehicles, especially his. Police were quick to respond and determined that Ortega was responsible for the wreck, as he and his 12-year-old passenger were pulled from the scene and treated for injuries, along with the others involved. After reports were taken and responders felt that they had sufficiently investigated the scene, a tow truck was called out to clear the mangled SUV and noticed something else that everyone else had apparently missed.
According to CBS 7, what started out as a fairly simple collision investigation, despite the extensive damage, has turned into something far more important that none of the authorities in Odessa have ever dealt with. After taking the Jeep to the wreckage yard, the man who towed it there found a 3-year-old girl on the floorboard of Ortega’s SUV, after she had reportedly been trapped there in the demolished vehicle for three hours.
Ortega had told the responding police at the time that just him and the 12-year-old were the only people in his car, but allegedly he had no clue the little girl was in the back seat. Since he had reportedly been drunk at the time of the accident, that may have been a factor into this horrific oversight, but now officials in West Texas are investigating if procedures were followed since the 3-year-old girl was missed by everyone working the scene that afternoon. It was only by the grace of God that the tow truck driver happened to see her since she was concealed by displaced seats where she ended up in the car after the wreck since she wasn’t restrained at the time of the collision.
The little girl was transported to a hospital in nearby Lubbock with serious injuries including bleeding on the brain and paralysis. She has since been released and Ortega has been booked into jail on $10,000 bond for Felony Intoxication Assault-Bodily injury, and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has also placed a detainer on him
Considering where she was trapped and that she had been easily missed by so many, including her own family, this little girl is lucky she was found when she was and is alive today. Had it not been for the tow truck driver taking a closer look and photo of the wreckage, she probably could have died from her injuries or been demolished with the remains of the car.