Britney Spears’ niece Maddie Aldridge remains in critical condition following an ATV accident that almost drowned the 8-year-old girl in front of her parents’ eyes.
As People reports, an anonymous source tells the magazine that Britney has flown to Louisiana to be with her family as they pray for Maddie’s speedy recovery. Britney herself has said little about her niece’s plight, except to post a photo of her on Twitter along with a simple caption.
Need all the wishes and prayers for my niece???? pic.twitter.com/lTlVQmNEh5
— Britney Spears (@britneyspears) February 6, 2017
What happened to Maddie is still being sorted out as police investigate the horrific accident that may yet claim the young girl’s life. However, what is known for certain, according to police, is this: at about 3:00 p.m. local time on Sunday, Maddie and her family were enjoying the afternoon on the family’s property (and not on a family hunting trip, as earlier reports had indicated). As Maddie’s mother, Britney’s sister Jamie Lynn Spears, and her step-father, Jamie Watson, looked on, the young lady turned her Polaris ATV to avoid a drainage ditch. However, she over-corrected and wound up driving the ATV into a pond.
Her horrified parents, who had only been a hundred yards away when the accident occurred, frantically rushed into the water to try to rescue her. Unfortunately, their efforts were hampered by the fact that Maddie was secured to the ATV with a seat belt. Jamie Lynn and Jamie tried frantically to rescue her until an ambulance showed up about two minutes later to pull her out of the water. She had been submerged in the cold water for several minutes, according to a police report.
“Within seconds the child’s mother, stepfather and other family members reached the pond, dove in and attempted to rescue the child to no avail. The child was trapped and secured by the seatbelt and the ATV’s safety netting. Within two minutes, Acadian Ambulance Services arrived and assisted in freeing the child from the cold waters.”
She was transported to an area hospital, where she remains in “critical but stable” condition.
The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office, which is investigating the accident, has asked the public to pray for the family and to respect their privacy.
“This is an extremely tragic accident. The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office is asking you to keep this family in your constant prayers as they try to cope with this horrible incident. We ask that you respect their privacy during this time of need.”
Meanwhile, The Daily Mail observes that Maddie’s parents may have been negligent in letting her anywhere near that ATV in the first place. According to the owner’s manual for the Polaris RZR 170 – the model Maddie was riding – children under ten years of age should neither operate nor ride as a passenger in that particular model.
‘Never allow a child under age 10 to operate or ride as a passenger in this vehicle… Permit continued use only if you [the parent] determine that your child has the ability and maturity to operate safely.”
Further, Polaris has faced at least two lawsuits over injuries sustained by people riding that particular model. In both cases, the parties sued over injuries they sustained when the ATV flipped over mid-motion.
Polaris, for its part, has issued a statement about Maddie’s accident that avoids mentioning any specifics.
“The safety of our riders is our absolute top priority. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family.”
This is a developing story. More information about Britney Spears’ niece’s condition will be provided as it becomes available.
[Featured Image by Sion Touhig/Getty Images]