Posted: Oct 24, 2012 10:37 AM by AP
HOUMA, La. (AP) - A 15-year-old girl who was trapped in a car that crashed and sank into Bayou Terrebonne early Sunday remains in a New Orleans hospital.
Family members of Bertha Griffin tell The Courier she was placed on life support after the accident, which killed her uncle, 18-year-old Justin Naquin.
The accident happened when Naquin lost control of the car he was driving. Another passenger, Naquin's 16-year-old sister, Shelia, escaped through an open car window.
The car had sunk so far into the bayou that firefighters had to find it from bubbles on the surface, Montegut District Fire Chief Toby Henry said.
Shelia Naquin and her late brother's fiancee, Marissa Conklin, told the newspaper they were angry with first-responders who had trouble finding Justin Naquin inside the car after the crash.
Firefighters attached winches to the car to pull it closer to bank of the bayou, Henry said. However, there was some obstruction in the water, possibly an old bulkhead, which kept much of the vehicle inaccessible.
Griffin was easy to reach, Henry said, but Justin Naquin was hard to find.
Firefighters used a pole to hunt for him, he said. They thought he might have drifted downstream because some of the car windows were open.
State police said tests were pending to determine whether alcohol or high speed were factors in the crash.