Child critical after head-on crash

FHP: Driver traveling on wrong side of the road

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PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. - A 5-year-old girl is in critical condition after a head-on car crash in Putnam County.

Highway Patrol officers said the accident happened Wednesday, just before 4 p.m. on West Strickland Road, east of Kueka Lake Road.

According to a report released by Florida Highway Patrol, Kimberly Cooper, 27, was driving westbound on West Strickland Road in a 1995 Honda with a 5-year-old passenger.

Cooper began traveling west in the eastbound lanes, according to the FHP report. Investigators said they aren't sure why she was driving in the wrong lane.

Whitney Spalding, 26, driving a 2006 Nissan Pathfinder was traveling eastbound on West Strickland Rd. when she saw Cooper driving toward her.

Spalding attempted to get Cooper's attention by honking the horn of the car, according to the report, but Cooper hit her car head-on. Both vehicles ended up in the westbound lane of West Strickland Rd.

Cooper was flown to Shands and is in serious condition. The 5-year-old passenger was taken to Putnam Hospital and later flown to Shands where she is in critical condition.

Spalding was transported to Putnam Hospital with minor injuries.

Both drivers were wearing their seat belts. Investigators have not yet released whether the child was wearing her seat belt, or if alcohol was a factor in the crash. Charges are pending.

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