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SUV goes over Vandergrift hillside with 2-year-old inside

posted Aug 8, 2017, 7:46 PM by Joseph Gray

Joe Gray | Vandergrift Police Department
A 2-year-old boy got out of this SUV unharmed despite being unrestrained inside when it went 100 to 150 feet down a hillside toward railroad tracks in Vandergrift on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017.

A 2-year-old boy was “as happy as could be” after getting out of an SUV that was destroyed when it went over a Vandergrift hillside Tuesday afternoon, borough police said.

“I don't know how he didn't get hurt,” Officer Joe Gray said. “Thank God he's OK.”

The child was playing inside the 1996 Chevrolet Blazer while his mother was cleaning it out around 3:30 p.m. behind a house in the 200 block of Sherman Avenue.

At one point, the vehicle's gearshift was put into “Drive.”

It rolled out of the driveway, across First Street, and 100 to 150 feet down a hill toward railroad tracks, Gray said.

The 30-year-old mother, who name was not released, saw the car starting to move as she walked away from it.

She was run over and dragged when she tried to get in to stop it.

The SUV ultimately wedged between two trees at the bottom of the hill, Gray said.

“The little guy — I don't know how he did it — but he was able to get out of the vehicle, and it was completely destroyed,” Gray said. “He had no bumps, no bruises, no scrapes. He was as happy as could be.”

Despite her injuries, the boy's mother and a neighbor went down the hill to get the boy.

The woman suffered minor abrasions and bruises and was complaining of back pain, Gray said.

Both mother and child went to Allegheny Valley Hospital in Harrison to be checked out, Gray said. She went by ambulance.

Gray said the keys were in the SUV's ignition, but was not turned on, or in the accessory position.

Its column-mounted shifter was in Drive, and the child was the only one inside.

Gray said police would have a mechanic examine the SUV to check its transmission and safety systems to try to figure out why it rolled away like it did.

Norfolk Southern was notified and the railroad tracks were shut down for about an hour, Gray said. There was no damage to the tracks.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4701, or on Twitter @BCRittmeyer