By DOUG VOLLMAYER, NICHOLAS COULSON and ANGELINE JANE BERNABE, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — The family attorney for a 5-year-old girl involved in a devastating three-car crash last month is speaking out for the first time.
In an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Good Morning America, Tom Porto, the family attorney of the Young family — whose daughter, Ariel, was injured after former Kansas City Chiefs assistant coach Britt Reid struck their vehicle — is describing the severity of the wreck that nearly killed the 5-year-old girl.
Ariel is still fighting for her life in a Kansas City, Missouri, hospital with a brain injury and unable to speak, according to Porto.
“This wasn’t a fender bender,” Porto told Good Morning America. “This was a serious life-altering event.”
Early last month, Reid — who is also the son of Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid — hit a car belonging to Ariel’s family. Her mom, aunt and 4-year-old cousin had pulled over to the side of a highway to help a 19-year-old family member whose car had run out of gas. According to police, Reid was driving at highway speeds when his pickup truck struck the first car.
Ariel, who was in the second car, suffered life-threatening injuries, while her 4-year-old cousin, who was also in the car, suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Both were transported to the hospital. The driver of the car Reid hit first and the two adults in the second car sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
“She’s awake, which is a huge development,” Porto said of Ariel. “She likely has permanent brain damage that she will endure for the rest of her life. She’s not walking — it’s a sad, sad, sad story.”
In exclusive photos obtained by ABC News, Reid’s truck was totaled and the two cars that police say he ran into — including Ariel’s backseat, in which she was sitting in the second row of her vehicle – was flattened and unrecognizable.
“When you look at those pictures, you wonder how anybody made it out of that car alive,” Porto said.
According to a search warrant application obtained by ABC News, an officer on-scene reported smelling “a moderate odor of alcoholic beverages emanating from [Reid].” Reid told the officer he’d had “2-3 drinks” and was on the prescription drug “Adderall.”
He was injured in the wreck and taken to the hospital with undisclosed injuries and did not join the Chiefs in Tampa, Floridad for the Super Bowl.
The investigation is ongoing and no charges have yet been filed in the case.
“We’re going to be advocating for the most serious charges and the most serious sentence that Britt could ever receive,” Porto said. “We don’t have the toxicology back, I don’t know what it is going to be. What I do know are the statements that he made to police that night. If you have two or three drinks, and then you get behind the wheel of a car, you are likely over the legal limit.”
This isn’t the first time that Reid has faced prior legal trouble. In 2007, he pleaded guilty to flashing a gun at a motorist and was sentenced to eight to 23 months in prison. And in 2008, Reid pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of a controlled substance.
Following the car crash, the Kansas City Chiefs placed Reid on administrative leave. And since the crash, the Chiefs’ head coach Andy Reid addressed the incident in a statement.
“My heart goes out to that young lady, I’m also a dad, so I get that. So I have concerns obviously on both sides,” said Andy Reid. “Britt did have surgery, but he’s doing better now, but that little girl, my heart goes out to her.”
The Young family said it desperately wishes that Ariel’s life can go back to normal, but Porto said they’re being led to believe that may not happen, at least not anytime soon.
*Reid’s attorney said he has had no communication with the family and has no comment at this time.
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