Jamie Lynn Spears' 8-year-old daughter, Maddie, is being treated in a hospital for serious injuries from a watery ATV crash that her horrified mother witnessed, the sheriff in
Meanwhile, Maddie's famous family, led by Aunt
Need all the wishes and prayers for my niece 💜 pic.twitter.com/lTlVQmNEh5
— Britney Spears (@britneyspears) February 6, 2017
According to a statement by Sheriff Daniel Edwards on Monday and posted on Facebook and Twitter,
Maddie was steering the popular off-road vehicle to avoid running over a drainage ditch. “In doing so, she over-corrected causing the ATV to enter the pond,” the sheriff's statement said. “The ATV and child were instantly submerged in the water right before their eyes.”
Within seconds, Spears, Watson and other family members reached the pond, jumped in and tried to free Maddie from her seatbelt and the ATV's safety net. It didn't work. It took another few minutes before the Acadian Ambulance Services arrived and rescued the child from the water, the sheriff's statement said.
Maddie was airlifted to a hospital in New Orleans, where she is reported to be in critical but stable condition, according to the sheriff's statement.
"This is an extremely tragic accident," the statement concluded, calling for prayers and privacy for the family.
Maddie is Jamie Lynn's daughter with Casey Aldridge, her fiance in 2007 when Britney's sister, then 16, made headlines with the announcement she was pregnant.
Since the accident, few details have emerged from the Spears family: On Sunday, Maddie's grandfather, Jamie Spears, spoke to E! News, urging the public to keep his granddaughter in their prayers.
"All I can say is pray for our baby Maddie," he said.
People have been debating for years whether all-terrain vehicles are safe toys for children. The
Some states regulate ATV drivers almost as strictly as regular automobiles; other states have no ATV requirements regarding driver age at all. Louisiana appears to be one of them: It requires ATVs to be titled and registered and it bars their use in state parks, but the state code says nothing about driver age as of 2006.