Police: Mother distracted by toddler just before she crashed

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Police lights

A two-year-old boy died in a crash that happened when his mother turned to look at him as she was driving.

Police said Jennifer Saffell, 31, was driving a 2002 Chevrolet van eastbound on U.S. 65 near Indianola just before 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 4, 2014, when her van crossed the center line, swerved when she over-corrected and side-swiped an oncoming tractor-trailer, striking the undercarriage of the semi.

Saffell’s two-year-old son, Jacob, died at the scene of the crash. The report from police said Jacob was restrained in a child safety seat in the back seat of the van.

State Police later said Saffell had turned to look at her son just before the crash.

Saffell was taken by helicopter ambulance to a hospital in Iowa, and she was reportedly released from the hospital the day after the crash.

Police said the driver of the semi, a 33-year-old man from Milwaukee, was not injured.