NASELLE, Wash. (February 21, 2013)--A passing driver who stopped to get a look at a damaged tree in southwest Washington found two young Oregon girls who were injured in a car crash that killed their mother, authorities said.
The Washington State Patrol estimated the car driven by Jessica Marie Rath, 26, of Astoria, Ore., hit the tree sometime early Wednesday morning.
The wreckage wasn't visible from State Highway 401 south of Naselle.
Trooper Russ Winger said it's likely the 4-year-old girl pulled her more seriously injured 2-year-old sister from the car and covered both of them with a blanket.
The overnight temperature was in the low 40s.
The girls were taken first to an Astoria hospital, where their father met them.
Winger says the 2-year-old was airlifted to a Portland hospital.
The trooper says the mother drove Tuesday night to the Hoquiam, Wash., area to pick up her fisherman husband, but then headed south when she found out her husband's boat was headed elsewhere.