Toni L. Sandys  /  St. Petersburg Times via AP
12-year-old  Amanda Young survived the 45-foot plunge off this overpass.
updated 3/16/2004 10:08:58 AM ET 2004-03-16T15:08:58

A 12-year-old girl was catapulted through a window in the family’s SUV during a two-vehicle crash, and survived a 45-foot fall from a freeway overpass.

Doctors said Amanda Young — who is 4 feet, 3 inches tall and weighs 65 pounds — had to have her spleen removed, and suffered a broken leg and a fractured eye socket after she was tossed from her mother’s sport utility vehicle. She was recovering Monday in the pediatric intensive care unit at Tampa General Hospital.

“I think almighty God saved her,” said the girl’s mother, Nancy Young. “What else would you think?”

Chris O'Meara  /  AP
Nancy Young, Amanda's mother
“I see God’s hand lowering her to the ground,” added the girl’s aunt, Peggy Moss.

Amanda suffers from rickets, a disorder that has weakened her bones and delayed her development, her family said. She was adopted at 2 — and is now one of nine children in the household, six of them adopted.

“She’s very fragile, but her will to live is not fragile at all,” Moss said.

Nancy Young was driving the little girl and two siblings from church Sunday when a car hit the back of Young’s vehicle. Amanda, sitting in the third row of seats, was catapulted through one of the car’s windows as it rolled and spun, eventually coming to rest teetering over a guard rail.

The two other Young children in the car, brother Joel, 10, and sister Ashelyn, 11, escaped “without a scratch,” Nancy Young said. It was not known if Amanda was wearing a seat belt.

The driver of the second car, Joshua Sheppard, 53, was charged with careless driving.

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