A 2-week-old girl suffered severe injuries after she was ejected from her mother's car when it was hit by a driver going an estimated 80 miles per hour on North Mayfair Road.
The driver caused a four-car accident with five injuries and has been charged with felony reckless driving causing great bodily harm.
Susan Kline, 64, of Glendale faces up to three years and six months in prison if convicted in Milwaukee County Circuit Court.
According to the criminal complaint, Kline was speeding because she was angry over being unable to find a "wig club" meeting she wanted to attend.
Police were called to the scene at North Mayfair and West Capitol Drive and found four cars badly damaged and multiple accident victims.
A witness told officers he had been driving north on Mayfair at about 40 mph when a small car passed him "like I was standing still." He estimated its speed at 80 mph.
Ahead, he saw another car crossing the northbound lanes, making a left turn onto eastbound Capitol. The speeding car plowed into it broadside without slowing down, he said.
Victim never even saw her coming
The driver of the car Kline hit was a young mother with her 4-year-old son and 2-week-old daughter in the back seat, both properly restrained. She said she looked before entering her turn but never saw Kline coming before she was struck.
Kline's Honda Accord made a direct hit on the rear passenger side door of the victims' Chrysler Sebring, driving it into another car stopped at the light on Capitol. Flying debris from the crash shattered the windshield on yet another car.
The panicked mother could not see her infant daughter – nor her car safety seat. The rear passenger door of her car had been ripped completely off the vehicle.
The driver of the car hit while waiting on Capitol saw the child seat, with the infant girl strapped into it, hanging from the outside of the wrecked car. Despite his own minor injuries, he ran to help the child and mother. He would later tell officers that he saw Kline approaching a moment before the impact, and she was "flying."
The baby was rushed to Children's Hospital, where she was put into a full body cast after her injuries were determined. She had a fractured skull with brain bleeding, her right thigh bone was broken in three places, and her right arm and collar bone were broken.
Miraculously, she was quickly pronounced stabilized. Her 4-year-old brother was treated for a broken ankle, a concussion and a cut on his forehead that required a number of stitches to close. Their mother suffered only back, neck and head pain.
Defendant upset over missing wig meeting
Police interviewed Kline at Froedtert Hospital, where she was being treated for a broken ankle and 13 broken ribs.
She told officers, “First of all, I was speeding because I was mad" – because she wears a wig, and she had been trying to find a "wig club" meeting, and unable to locate it, she was upset by all of her time being wasted.
Kline said she thought she had been driving only about 50 miles an hour and that by the time she saw the Sebring turning in front of her, she had no time to apply her brakes.
But even though Kline's precise speed could not be determined, Department of Transportation camera footage from the intersection corroborated witnesses' statements that Kline entered the intersection "at a very high rate of speed."
Police accident investigators impounded both Kline's and the victim's cars, and learned that the infant had, as her mother said, been properly restrained in a brand-new infant safety seat of the latest design.
It was of a two-piece type, with the removable seat locking into a base that is anchored to the car's back seat. The base had been properly attached.
The impact was so powerful, though, the seat itself, with the baby harnessed in, was ripped off the base and launched out of the interior of the car.