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Girl, 9, searches for help after car crash kills her father

3:45 PM, Mar 25, 2013   |    comments
After a crash that killed her father, 9-year-old Celia set out to get help. (credit: Art Barron/CBS2)
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ACTON, L.A. -- A 9-year-old girl is being praised for her immense bravery Sunday after an overnight crash near Los Angeles claimed her father's life, reports CBS Los Angeles.

Investigators say the car careened off a highway after failing to negotiate a curve in the road. The vehicle landed 200 feet down a ravine.

Following the 1:30 a.m. crash, the child -- identified as Celia Renteria -- managed to climb out of the wreckage, braving rugged terrain as she went to get her father help.

Renteria initially traveled about a mile to a home. When no one answered, she returned to the crash site to check on her father.


The girl then headed down the ravine to a Metrolink station and summoned help from a passerby who alerted authorities.

The California Highway Patrol responded to the crash site about 2:30 a.m.

"What was most remarkable was her commitment to her father and to try to get him aid under very challenging circumstances. It's very cold out here. It's also very barren. We have coyotes out here that were also howling. So it's kind of a creepy environment for a young girl to show and demonstrate such courage and commitment to her father," CHP Sgt. Tom Lackey told KCAL9's Art Barron.

Renteria was airlifted to Children's Hospital Los Angeles. The extent of her injuries was not clear.

She told her family she was deeply saddened to learn her father, Alejandro Renteria, did not survive the crash.

The family shot video of Renteria in the hospital. When asked if she was cold she said, "Yeah." And when asked if she was hurt, she also replied, "Yeah."

Consuelo Amador, the girl's caregiver, said "She's strong. She didn't panic."

Even when she smelled gasoline, the little girl calmly turned off the engine.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation. The sergeant said alcohol may have been a factor in the crash.

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