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Fishermen discover 2 injured girls, dead mother near crash site

Published On: Feb 22 2013 10:59:32 AM CST
Updated On: Feb 22 2013 10:09:08 AM CST
Car driving on darkened road

iStock / vossphotography

Two fishermen driving on a remote country road south of Naselle, Wash., on February 20 stumbled upon the scene of a car accident, though the car was stuck deep in the woods and there were no skid marks on the highway. The only thing that led them to the spot was a gash in a tree along the highway.

After discovering the car, they also discovered two Oregon sisters, four and two, huddled under a blanket near the car.

The Washington State Patrol said the girls' mother, 26-year-old Jessica Rath of Astoria, probably was asleep when she veered off the road and struck the tree shortly after midnight. She died at the scene.

A state trooper said investigators believe the 4-year-old pulled her sister from the vehicle and helped her to a spot about 20 feet away, where the fishermen found them. The trooper said keeping warm with the blanket was vital with temperatures in the low 40s.

The 2-year-old, who had serious leg injuries, was flown to a Portland hospital. The 4-year-old was treated at an Astoria hospital and released.