Local News

4-year-old girl rescues younger sister from crash that killed mother


The family’s car wreckage can be seen in this photo released by the Washington State Patrol.

NASELLE, Wash. (KPTV/Portland) – A 4-year-old girl who survived a car crash that killed her mother dragged her severely injured 2-year-old sister from the wreckage and huddled in brush until they were discovered hours later, police said Wednesday.

Washington State Patrol troopers said an Astoria, Ore., woman, Jessica Rath, 26, was driving with her two young daughters to pick up her fisherman husband near Long Beach,  Wash., Tuesday night.

Sometime after midnight, troopers believe, Rath fell asleep behind the wheel, traveled off State Route 401 near Naselle, Wash., about 22 miles east of Long Beach, and slammed head-on into a tree. Rath died at the scene.

Her 2-year-old daughter was severely injured in the crash. Police said the 4-year-old girl dragged her sister out of the car, along with a blanket, and hunkered down in nearby brush.

They remained there for hours.

Finally, around 8 a.m., a passer-by noticed the damaged trees and stopped to check out what had happened. That person discovered the crash scene, along with the injured children, and went to get help.

The girls were taken to a hospital in Astoria and were later flown to Oregon Health & Sciences University in Portland for further treatment. Troopers said their father is with the girls at the hospital.

The 2-year-old girl has been identified as Lylah Huff. OHSU confirmed she is a patient, but the family has asked for no other information to be released about her condition.

Arianna Rath, her 4-year-old sister, was released from the hospital Wednesday night.

Washington State Patrol continues to investigate the crash.


8 Comments to “4-year-old girl rescues younger sister from crash that killed mother”

    kathy said:
    February 20, 2013 at 8:51 PM

    condolences to the family,my heart breaks now the kids r without a mother ,bless their hearts.

    Krista said:
    February 20, 2013 at 8:57 PM

    prays to the 2-yr old and family :(

    Miss B said:
    February 20, 2013 at 8:58 PM

    Poor babies… :( I can't imagine how scared they must have been.

    karin said:
    February 20, 2013 at 9:28 PM

    Prayers to the family and the girls…what a brave young gal to take care of her younger sister and try to keep themselves as warm as possible…

    JJ1 said:
    February 20, 2013 at 10:10 PM

    Kudos to the alert passerbyers that took time out to investigate the "skinned tree" – God was certainly watching out and leading them to rescue those little girls. Love and prayers to the girls and their rescuers!

    Eileen Brunetti said:
    February 21, 2013 at 5:24 AM

    What a story !! These little girls were so brave and the 4 year old acted like someone 3 times her age. So sorry for the loss of their mother. Thank GOD someone was alert enough and cared enough to help them.

    Seka C said:
    February 21, 2013 at 9:22 AM

    Poor little girls they must have been terrified! She is a little hero. So sad their mom didn't make it :( My heart goes out to their family. This is heartbreaking.

    Nicole said:
    February 21, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    This is so very sad. its amazing how the 4 year old knew what to do. bless those little girls!

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