6 children, 2 adults critical after pickup rollover

News Staff Writer

Eight Walnut Hill residents, including six children ranging in age from 3 to 14 years, were critically injured Sunday, July 7, when the driver of a pickup on the back of which the youngsters were riding, lost control of the vehicle, causing it to run off the road, roll over and sling the children from the truck bed.
According to Florida Highway Patrol reports, the wreck happened around 2:47 p.m. on O.C. Phillips Road, off Highway 97A, about seven miles from Walnut Hill.
Troopers reported that the only involved vehicle, a Nissan Frontier pickup, “left the paved portion of O.C. Phillips Road and lost control as they continued westbound on the dirt roadway.” The pickup slammed into an embankment on the road’s north shoulder, then overturned before coming to rest on its side.
The children were riding in the bed of the pickup and were ejected as it overturned. According to trooper reports, all six were in critical condition when they were taken from the scene, as were the truck’s driver, a 37-year-old female from Walnut Hill, and her cab passenger, a 47-year-old female, also from Walnut Hill.
The children included four girls, ages 3, 4, 8, and 11, and two boys, ages 10 and 14.
Some of the victims were flown to Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola in one of three air ambulances that were sent to the crash site. Four ambulances took the remainder to the same facility after emergency medical personnel issued a “trauma alert,” indicating each patient met the criteria for transport to a trauma center instead of a general hospital.
FHP does not include the names of drivers, passengers or others involved in vehicle crashes.
The trooper investigation continued this week.