DEKALB COUNTY, Ala. – A mother and her daughter died in separate car accidents along an Alabama highway Tuesday afternoon, according to authorities.
Investigators say the woman, identified as 39-year-old Julia Yates Patterson, died when the Ford Explorer she was driving collided head-on with a Dodge Ram truck. The fatal crash happened on Highway 117 around 3 p.m., according to WHNT.
Two people riding in the truck were hurt in the incident and taken to the hospital.
A short time after that wreck, a vehicle hit and killed a child on a different stretch of the same highway. The child, who investigators identified as Patterson’s daughter, died at the scene.
Family members say the girl, Elizabeth Patterson, was 8 years old. She went by “Libby” and had just celebrated her birthday last weekend. She was in second grade.
It’s not yet clear how the girl ended up on the highway that afternoon. According to the Times Free Press, Elizabeth had gotten off the school bus a few minutes before she was struck by a 2008 Ford Fiesta.
While a police investigation continues, friends of the child’s father, Kevin Patterson, have arranged a fundraising account for him.