Accident victim expected to recover

MARTINS FERRY – The 10-year-old girl seriously injured in Monday morning’s two-vehicle accident on Ohio 7 is expected to make a full recovery, according to Ohio Highway Patrol Sgt. James Faunda.

Faunda said Tuesday afternoon that Breyona Mayfield, of Pittsburgh, sustained two broken legs, a broken nose, a crushed eye socket and numerous bruises about her body.

She was pinned under the crushed dashboard and seat of a rented Penske moving van that was driven by her father, 38-year-old Lamont Branch. Branch suffered a broken finger and various facial cuts.

It took emergency crews approximately 30 minutes to free Branch, but it took almost another hour to get Mayfield out of the wreckage. Crews had to cut a hole in the back of the van’s cab and take Mayfield out through the back of the van.

Mayfield remains in the Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, according to Faunda, who added that Branch was treated and released from University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

“She was conscious,” Martins Ferry Fire Chief Jack Regis said of the girl. “She was awake and talking to us. I don’t think I ever saw a tear in her eye the entire time.”

Both had to be extricated from the vehicle by the Jaws of Life and were LifeFlighted from the crash scene by Stat MedEvac helicopters, which is based out of Wintersville.

The two were reportedly moving from the Pittsburgh area early Monday en route to Steubenville when Branch allegedly rear-ended a tractor trailer driven by Rick Daniels, of Wisconsin, approximately 200 yards south of the Hanover Street interchange in the northbound lanes.

Daniels and a woman following the rented van, who is reportedly Branch’s girlfriend and Mayfield’s mother, gave troopers investigating the crash conflicting stories.

Daniels said he had just let off his accelerator and was coasting to the red light at Hanover Street. He was going to turn right to make a delivery of 44,000 pounds of fertilizer to Turf Care Supply.

“All of sudden I felt the truck lurch forward,” Daniels said. “Then I looked in my mirror and saw the van in my back end.”

The woman told troopers that Daniels’ semi veered in front of her boyfriend and then suddenly stopped.

Faunda said an accident reconstruction crew was on the scene Tuesday morning going over the crash.

“They mapped the scene and gathered some more evidence,” Faunda reported.

He said Branch will more than likely be charged with assured clear distance and a seat belt violation. An additional charge of speeding could also be added once the investigation is completed.

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