A 6-week-old baby who was ejected from his family’s vehicle in a serious car crash miraculously survived the accident with hardly a scratch to show for it.
Little Ezra Benitez was strapped into his car seat on Sunday when the black Cadillac Escalade driven by his father Ulizes Benitez rolled over as it swerved to avoid another vehicle, California Highway Patrol Officer Thomas Olsen confirms to PEOPLE.
The car was driving between 45 and 65 miles per hour at the time of the crash, and Benitez, his wife and their 2-year-old son Elijah were all injured.
“I lost control and I just spun out on the freeway, and I just remember feeling weightless and just thinking of my kids, and my wife,” Benitez told CBS affiliate KOVR. “So many things went through my head.”
The vehicle was totaled, and all of its windows were shattered once it rolled to a stop.
Benitez said he immediately launched a search for Ezra, who Olsen says is believed to have flown out of a broken window during one of the car’s multiple rollovers.
“It was unreal, I couldn’t believe what was happening. Just thinking, ‘Where is he?’” he told the outlet. “It was muddy, it was wet. I didn’t know if he was in the water somewhere. I didn’t know if he was on the road.”
With help from a first responder, the worried father eventually found his son sitting unharmed in his car seat, which was upside down in a bush.
“He was awake. He just looked at us. He wasn’t crying,” Benitez told KOVR. “I was so… I can’t explain the feeling I got when they gave him back to me.”
Ezra and Elijah were taken by helicopter to UC Davis Medical Center as a precaution, but were released Monday night, Olsen says.
“It gives me chills thinking about it as an officer,” Olsen says. “I have personally never seen anything like this. This is not usually your outcome. I don’t recall ever having a child ejected from a vehicle in this manner unharmed. This is not the normal outcome on a collision like this, this magnitude. It’s extremely rare.”
Elijah had injuries to his hand, and Benitez to his knee, while the driver’s wife remains hospitalized with a broken pelvis, he told the outlet.
“The officer said it’s a one in a million chance how he just came out and landed so perfect. The chair has no scratches,” Benitez said. “It was a crazy accident. And we’re still here. It’s a miracle.”
Olsen says that he and his fellow officers are looking forward to using the incident as a teaching moment for parents to learn the importance of car seat safety, as Ezra’s car seat was not properly mounted at the time of the crash.
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