LYNCHBURG -- A Nelson County child was killed Sunday night when the car he was riding in ran off the road and into a creek, Virginia State Police said Tuesday.
Jeremiah C. Clark, 5, of Nellysford, died of his injuries after being taken to the University of Virginia Medical Center following the wreck, state police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said in a news release.
Mercedes P. Toliver-Carrington, 18, of Amherst, was driving a 1994 Saturn SL east on Route 665 (Wilson Hill Road) in the Arrington area of the county, just east of U.S. 29, Geller said.
Shortly after 8:20 p.m., Geller said, the car ran off the left side of the road, hit a tree and overturned into a creek.
Lt. Kris Redman, with the Lovingston Volunteer Fire Department, recalled perilous conditions as fire and rescue crews worked to free the victims despite a slick, snowy embankment into the creek where the car came to rest.
“The car was approximately 15 to 20 feet down an embankment, on its driver's side door in the creek,” Redman said.
“My guys that were down in the creek started yelling that they had a child that was unresponsive. I literally stepped on the hill to grab the kid, slid halfway down the hill due to the snow and ice.”
Redman said he couldn’t climb back up the embankment with the child. He passed the boy off to a deputy, and the child was rushed by ambulance to a rendezvous with the Pegasus ground crew, which had responded in lieu of their medical helicopter, grounded due to the weather.
Rescue workers had been able to restore a pulse to the boy, Redman said, and he heard the child was breathing on his own at one point.But the next day, Redman learned Jeremiah had not pulled through.
“It's always really difficult to deal with when a child's involved,” he said.
But at the scene, Redman said, he and other emergency personnel had to remain all-business and help the other passengers, one of whom still was trapped inside the vehicle.
She had to be immobilized and pulled up the hill.
All five of the vehicle’s occupants were taken to the UVa Medical Center.
“Your training really takes over a lot. You're doing a job and you've got to get it done,” Redman said.
Everyone in the vehicle was wearing a seatbelt, Geller said.
Charges are pending.