I-75 crash claims 5-year-old girl By News Sentinel staff
April 10, 2007

A 5-year-old girl who was seriously injured in a Monday crash on Interstate 75 in Loudon County has died, according to the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

Maya Thomas, 5, died this morning at the University of Tennessee Medical Center. She had been listed in critical condition after suffering serious head injuries when she was ejected from a 1993 Ford Explorer that was run off the road by a tractor-trailer rig about 4:15 p.m. Monday, authorities said.

Her mother, Lauryn Thomas, 32, was also thrown from the vehicle. She died at the scene.

They were both passengers in the Explorer, which was driven by 32-year-old Caroll Cooper. Cooper sustained non-life threatening injuries, according to Trooper S.F. Holcomb.

The trio was returning home to Dayton, Ohio, after a trip to Florida when the Explorer was forced into the grassy median by a tractor-trailer rig, Holcomb said. The Explorer flipped several times, ejecting all three occupants.

No one in the Explorer was wearing a seat belt and there was no child restraint device, the trooper said.

Although witnesses confirmed that a tractor-trailer ran them off the road, the vehicle had not been located.

More details as they develop online and in Wednesday’s News Sentinel.