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Seven-year-old girl dies after falling out of car on 5 Freeway; Mother, boyfriend charged with child abuse

CBS News Los Angeles: The Rundown (July 7 AM Edition)
CBS News Los Angeles: The Rundown (July 7 AM Edition) 01:44

A seven-year-old girl was fatally injured when she fell out of the window of a moving vehicle that was traveling on the 5 Freeway in Newhall on Saturday. Her mother and boyfriend were both arrested and charged with child abuse on Wednesday. 

The girl fell from the 1999 Lincoln Navigator at around 3:40 a.m. Saturday as the group was driving along the northbound 5 Freeway near Weldon Canyon Road.

California Highway Patrol officers rushed to the scene after receiving a call that a vehicle "had struck an unknown stationary object, which was blocking the roadway." 

Officers were still unsure how the girl fell out of the window, though through preliminary investigation "it was determined that the unknown object was a child which had been struck by several vehicles."

The girl's mother, Veronica Gladney, 28-years old of Lancaster, and her boyfriend 39-year-old Hawthorne resident, Michael Branch, were both arrested following the incident on suspicion of child endangerment. 

CHP officers detailed that Gladney was behind the wheel at the time of the incident. 

On Wednesday, Branch pleaded not guilty one count of child abuse under circumstances or conditions other than great bodily injury or death and was released under his own recognizance. 

It was still not clear if Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office had made a filing decision for Gladney.

Authorities were asking anyone with information on the case to call the CHP Newhall Area Office at (661) 600-1600.

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