May 9, 2013

Probe continues into Lyman crash that killed young girl

By David Hench
Staff Writer

Maine State Police say they will have to do more tests to determine whether a 4-year-old girl who was killed in a crash Monday night in Lyman was strapped into a booster seat at the time.

Venna Cline of Lyman was riding in a sport utility vehicle driven by her mother, Tonya Cline, 32, when the vehicle crashed into a tree along Walker Road, a short distance from their home, at 7:30 p.m.

State police Lt. Louis Nyitray said Thursday that the damage to the SUV was so extensive in the area where the seat and the child were that it will take more analysis to determine whether she was strapped in as required by law.

Maine law requires all children under eight years old who weigh between 40 and 80 pounds to be secured in a federally approved child restraint system like a booster seat. A first violation is a $50 fine, a second offense is a $125 fine and all subsequent offenses are $250 fines.

"Between interviews and any evidence analyzed by the (state police) crime lab, we'll be able to determine whether the child was properly secured," Nyitray said.

He said troopers collected electronic devices from the SUV to explore whether their use may have contributed to the crash.

Police have said speed was likely a factor in the crash, but they are still doing the reconstruction and have not determined how fast the SUV was going, Nyitray said.

The girl's sister, 16-year-old Carissa Cline, was also a passenger in the vehicle. The teenager and her mother suffered minor injuries.

There was no indication that alcohol or drugs played a role in the crash, Nyitray said, but authorities will do blood tests, as required after any serious traffic crash.

David Hench can be reached at 791-6327 or at:

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