Hattiesburg family shares similar experience with Britney Spears' niece

Hattiesburg family shares similar experience with Britney Spears' niece

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Over the weekend, Britney Spears' 8-year-old niece was submerged in a pond for two minutes after an ATV crash. Now she is in stable, but critical condition.

According to a government study in 2012, more than 100,00 children under 16 experience ATV-related injuries.The Hester family from Hattiesburg is part of this statistic. Ann Elise Hester was underwater for at least 12 minutes after her golf cart crashed into a lake in 2015.

"I jumped down in the water to try and get her out from underneath the golf cart," said Chris Hester, Ann Elise's father. "I could see her pinned underneath, face down."

With the help of Hester's father and neighbor, Ann Elise was rescued and taken to the hospital. She was first stabilized at Forrest General and then sent to Batson Children's Hospital in Jackson, where she spent 21 days. In rehabilitation, she was asked to write her name.

"All she could draw was circles," Chris Hester said. "They said they weren't sure how she was going to recover, and what she was going to be able to do."

This March will mark two years since the accident. Ann Elise, 13, is an A/B honor roll student and star basketball and soccer player.

According to the Mississippi State Department of Health, Mississippians are three and a half times more likely to die from an ATV accident compared to the national average in 2010. Hattiesburg Cycles General Manager William Moore said the most important thing parents need to look for when buying an ATV for their child is age requirement.

"They just need to be with something that's within the capabilities of that age group," Moore said. "These big machines can get away from some body in a hurry."

Hester's gives this advice to the Spears family: "Be patient, you just can't tell about the brain."