Baby Lily, who survived after her mother crashed the car they were driving in, was likely saved by her car seat. She has left the hospital and is now home with dad, who says he feels blessed.
The story has made headlines because of the circumstances surrounding the miraculous 13-hour ordeal, which left baby Lily’s mother, Lynn Jennifer Groesbeck, 25, dead and her daughter hanging precariously while still strapped into her car seat.
When rescuers reached the scene on Saturday, they found the 18-month-old toddler inside the car, which had flipped upside down and fallen into the frigid Utah river. Authorities estimated the child was trapped in the car for approximately 14 hours.
According to NBC News, Spanish Fork police believe Groesbeck’s car struck a cement barrier on a bridge at around 10:30 p.m. Friday and plunged into the river, where it remained upside down until a fisherman saw the wreckage at around 12:20 p.m. Saturday and alerted authorities.
Baby Lily’s father, Deven Trafny, 34, said he feels blessed — despite the tragedy that took the child’s mother from her — that his daughter is fine and escaped with only small bruises.
“Except for a few bruises, she has made a remarkable recovery. I’m just really blessed and I’m glad to have my daughter here with me. I’m overwhelmed with joy right now. She’s just a miracle to me.”
Doctors say the frigid temperatures may actually have helped baby Lily survive, as many ask how is it possible for this to happen to such a small child. Dr. Barbara Walsh, with the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, explained how the baby’s body may have reacted to the accident.
“She’s going to have a lower heart rate. She’s going to have a lower metabolism. She’s going to need less sugar. It’s almost like the body is sort of knowing that it needs to shut down to protect itself.
“We don’t know what time the child was last fed, when she drank. Given that it’s wintertime and she was in her car seat, she was probably wearing mittens, a hat. We tend to over bundle our children, so the fact that she was dry, she probably had on multiple layers because it’s winter, and there’s always a chance that she had just been sort of fed right before this happened probably all played a role.”
Additionally, Walsh said baby Lily’s own fat probably contributed to her surviving the harsh winter conditions on Friday night, providing her with more insulation than a younger child has. First responders said they heard and adult voice calling out, “Help me, help me,” however, authorities believe Lily’s mom died on impact.
[Image via NBC News]