A 4-week-old girl injured in one of several accidents during Thursday's high-speed police chase from Cecil County to Baltimore suffered more serious injuries than previously thought, hospital officials and family members said yesterday.
Police said Thursday that Savanah Meginnes' injuries were minor and that she was being held for observation at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center. But the girl's condition was downgraded to serious early yesterday, a hospital spokeswoman said.
The infant's uncle, Jim Nelson of Parkville, said Savanah was thrown from her car seat onto the floor of the car and that her skull was cracked.
He said doctors found that the girl was bleeding internally and planned a blood transfusion yesterday.
The accident occurred on the Harbor Tunnel Thruway near Pulaski Highway as several state police cruisers and a Toll Facilities officer chased a suspect driving a stolen pickup. The chase began about 9:30 a.m. when the driver allegedly refused to pay a toll at the Hatem Memorial Bridge in Perryville and continued for 35 miles south on Interstate 95 into Baltimore.
Four accidents along the way -- injuring five people -- involved two state police cruisers and two cars driven by civilians, including one driven by Savanah's mother, Heidi, a nurse who lives in Baltimore County. Mrs. Meginnes was not seriously injured.
Mr. Nelson said yesterday, "I am wondering if it was worth that kind of pursuit. I don't know if the offense was serious enough -- it doesn't seem appropriate."
Lt. Gregory M. Shipley, a state police spokesman, said of the stolen truck's driver, "He was operating in total disregard for public safety. It was necessary to pursue him. This person needed to be apprehended as quickly as possible."