APTOS (CBS SF) — A 7-year-old was critically injured Tuesday morning in a horrific crash that sent a Toyota Tacoma tumbling along a Highway 1 center divider, the California Highway Patrol said.

The crash took place at 9:12 a.m. on southbound Highway 1 near the Park Ave. exit in Aptos.

Investigators said the driver of the Tacoma became distracted and careened into the center divider. The force of the crash sent the truck flipping down the freeway, leaving a trail of debris and twisted metal.

santa cruz crash chp photo Child Critically Injured In Horrific Highway 1 Crash

A 7-year-old was in the truck, but was not properly secured in a child safety seat and was ejected from the vehicle.

The CHP said the youngster sustained major injuries and was air lifted to a trauma center. The child’s condition was not immediately known.

The cause of the crash was under investigation. The CHP warned drivers to properly secure your children in a car seat or booster.

“Tragically this child could have been uninjured if he were in the proper seat,” the CHP said in a release.

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