Mom, boyfriend arrested after daughter, 7, falls out of moving vehicle onto 5 Freeway

A woman and her boyfriend were arrested in connection with the death of the woman's 7-year-old daughter, who fell from a moving vehicle onto the northbound 5 Freeway over the weekend, authorities said Wednesday.

The girl died around 3:40 a.m. Saturday near Weldon Canyon Road in the Newhall area, the California Highway Patrol reported.

Officers went to the scene after receiving a 911 call from a motorist reporting that a vehicle "had struck an unknown stationary object, which was blocking the roadway ...," according to a CHP statement.

"It was determined that the unknown object was a child which had been struck by several vehicles. After initial investigations it was determined the 7-year-old female child fell out of the moving 1999 Lincoln Navigator through ... an open window, and as a result sustained fatal injuries. At this time the circumstances behind how she fell out are under investigation.

"The (girl's) mother, Veronda Gladney, and the mother's boyfriend, Michael Branch ... have been arrested for child endangerment," the CHP reported.

The girl's name was withheld, pending notification of her next of kin.

According to the CHP, Gladney, 28, of Lancaster, was the driver of the Lincoln and Branch, 39, of Hawthorne, was a passenger, as was the girl, also from Lancaster.

Anyone with information on the case was urged to call the CHP Newhall Area Office at 661-600-1600.