Toddler sitting on driver's lap killed in chain-reaction crash

LIHUE, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Kauai toddler is dead following a chain-reaction crash in Lihue Sunday afternoon. County officials say the child was sitting in her driver's lap when the collision occurred.

It happened on Kaumualii Highway near Dynasty Court shortly before 2:30 PM. A Kauai County pick-up truck and a PT Cruiser were both heading east and came to a stop near the Kukui Grove Center.

"The driver of a Nissan Pathfinder apparently unaware of this rear-ended the car in front of him, which caused that vehicle to rear-end the truck in front of her," Mary Daubert, county spokesperson, said.

A 28-year-old man from Puhi was driving the Pathfinder. Authorities say his 14-month-old daughter was sitting on his lap and was killed in the crash.

Police closed the highway between Kalepa Street and Nuhou Road for three hours while they investigated.

"We are very sad about the loss of the little girl, and our condolences go out to her family and friends," Daubert said. "In light of this, we urge anyone who is driving with a child under the age of four to please have the child in a child restraint."

The toddler's siblings -- a five-year-old boy and a two-and-a-half-year-old girl -- were in the backseat. No one else was injured.

County officials could not comment on possible criminal charges against the father, saying the investigation is ongoing.

Authorities also want to remind drivers that children ages four through seven should be in a booster seat.

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