Nicolaas Alan Myrtle (inset) faces felony DUI charges after a car accident that paralyzed one daughter and critically injured the other. (Inset: Redding Record-Searchlight)
Warning: This story is heartbreaking.
A 28-year-old father who drove after he smoked medical marijuana and took other drugs faces felony DUI charges for a car accident that critically injured his two young daughters. One of them suffered a paralyzing spinal cord injury.
• A father smoked medicinal marijuana and then crashed his car with his two young daughters inside.
• The girls were not properly secured in their child safety seats.
• Both girls were critically injured. One is paralyzed from a spinal cord injury. The other had injuries to her face and may be blind in one eye.
• The father is charged with felony DUI, several grave bodily injury enhancements, and chid endangerment.
The drugged driving accident occurred at about 8:45 p.m., according to a report in the Redding Record-Searchlight.
Nicolaas Alan Myrtle of Palo Cedro said the accident happened when he reached back to buckle one of his daughter’s seat belts that had become unbuckled, according to the California Highway Patrol report.
3-year-old Ashlynn Myrtle (left) and 4-year-old Alexis Myrtle were critically injured in a drugged driving accident.
Myrtle lost control of his car and ran off Gas Point Road near the Little League Fields in Cottonwood, about 15 miles south of Redding. The car hit a concrete bridge abutment. His two daughters – 3-year-old Ashlynn and 4-year-old Alexis — suffered catastrophic injuries and remain hospitalized at Mercy Medical Center in Redding.
Ashlynn suffered a spinal cord injury and is paralyzed from the waist down, according to a report in the Mt. Shasta News. She is expected to be transferred later this week to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, where she’ll get specialized care for pediatric spinal injuries.
Alexis was on a life-support respirator until Sunday night, but is now breathing on her own. She underwent surgery to repair a deep gash in her face. It is not known whether she’ll have motor function or sight in her right eye.
CHP officer Michael Cregger said Myrtle told him that the two little girls were in their booster seats with their seat belts fastened when the crash happened. But he said the girls had a habit of taking the shoulder belts and tucking them underneath the arm rests of the booster seats.
When Cregger asked Myrtle if that is how the seat belts were positioned on the girls, he “looked down, started crying and shaking his head yes,” the CHP report stated.
Myrtle told officers he had smoked medical marijuana several hours before the accident. Officers found two prescription bottles for methadone and alprazolam (Xanax) in Myrtle’s car.
When officers interviewed Myrtle at the hospital following the accident, he said he had taken two methadone pills around 2 p.m. on the day of the crash and alprazolam about an hour after that. He told officers he takes the methadone for back pain and the other medication for anxiety.
Myrtle remains in Shasta County jail in lieu of $100,000 bail. He faces felony charges for driving under the influence with numerous enhancements for grave bodily injury, and child endangerment. Read the court documents for full details about the charges.
The girls’ mother, Amanda Pevehouse, told the Mt. Shasta newspaper that she’s taking it all one step at a time and is grateful for all the support she has received.
“Thank you to everyone who has been praying for my babies,” she said. “We’re thankful they’re alive.”
A community fund to help Pevehouse and her daughters has been set up at PremierWest Bank. The account number is 68016754. Donations can be made at any PremierWest Bank branch.
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