AMSTERDAM, N.Y. - The father of the 2-year-old survivor of a deadly car crash tells NEWS10 his little girl is doing better than doctors first expected.
Chris Sleight spoke with NEWS10 Thursday outside Albany Medical Center where his daughter Naomi is in critical condition after the Amsterdam crash that killed her mother Tanya, her 9-year-old brother Elijah and her mother's close friend Shyara Concepcion.
Sleight says little Naomi suffered a broken arm and leg, has bruising on her brain, and an injured spleen.
But her dad says she found the strength to open her eyes a few days ago and now appears to be doing better than first expected.
The children's aunt tells NEWS10, "Christopher really needs your prayers and support if you can help." Funds for the family can be donated at Citizens Bank in the name of Christopher Sleight.
A fund has also been set up for the funerals of the three victims. The "Tanya & Elijah Sleight and Shyara Concepcion memorial fund" has been set up at Adirondack Trust Bank. Donations can be made at any branch.
Visitation hours are open to the public on Sunday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Armer Funeral Home, 39 East High St in Ballston Spa. The funeral is scheduled for Monday at 10 a.m. in Ballston Spa.
The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office says a van crossed the center line on State Route 67 in Amsterdam and collided head-on with the Sleight family's car Sunday around 6 p.m. The van's driver, 68-year-old David Bain, was transported to St. Mary's Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The investigation is focused on his actions prior to the crash.
Realizing the driver and front-seat passenger could not be saved; rescuers focused their attention on the three children in the backseat. Hagaman firefighter Eric Gieseler worked on the youngest victim, 2-year-old Naomi Sleight.
"I was trying to help manage the airway, keep her - she couldn't talk - keep her crying and make sure she was pushing air through... I tried to look into her eyes and just keep her going. That was just how I stayed focused on her," says Gieseler.
Gieseler says he felt a sense of relief watching the med flight chopper take off with Naomi on board.