After kids are struck by car, mom's parenting skills questionedBy KEVIN LANDRIGAN
New Hampshire Union Leader
February 02. 2018 9:38PM
MANCHESTER — Jacqueline Belanger, a mother of four, never imagined that serious injuries to her 8-year-old daughter earlier this week would lead to social media attacks on her parenting skills.
“I was shocked how people reacted to this, many of them questioning whether I was a good parent,” Belanger said during an interview Friday.
The controversy erupted after a motor vehicle accident on Orange Street Wednesday night that left her daughter, Iysis, hospitalized with a broken femur and major lacerations.
Belanger’s four children were playing outside in the driveway where their father lives at 125-131 Orange St. when the next-door neighbor was backing up his car at about 7 p.m.
“The man lost control of the car somehow and pinned my daughter to the wall of the house,” Belanger said. “She has a broken femur and 50 staples on both her legs. My son (Kamryn, 12) got caught behind the car and tried to put himself between him and my daughter and that’s how he hurt his hand. It was just a freak accident.”
Media reports of the accident on Facebook, however, resulted in some critical of the mother for allowing the children to be playing outside in the dark at night.
“Grow the hell up, you’re a mom of 4 kids, that I assume need you more than ever,” posted Tammy R. “Put down the damn cell phone and tend to your kids otherwise “people” will continue to assume poor parenting. Or maybe they will also think you were playing on your phone at 7 instead of bathing, reading and tucking your kids in for the night.”
Belanger said she lives on Manchester’s West Side and wasn’t with her children at the time of the accident.
She’s separated from her husband and they have shared custody of the children.
“I was called and met them at the hospital,” she said. “My son was released later the same day after he was treated. My daughter will be at Elliot Hospital until Monday.”
Belanger works as a licensed nursing assistant at a Bedford nursing home.
“They were playing in a driveway with multiple other kids outside their apartment door so please stop trying to play the bad parenting card on us,” Belanger shot back at her critics on Facebook.
Some on Facebook said it was wrong to make the child’s parent the target for criticism.
“How very scary, wishing them both a very speedy recovery,” wrote Lisa Marie Prodanas Rinaldi.
Belanger felt the Manchester Police Department’s news release failed to account for how severe her daughter’s injuries were.
“The eight-year-old victim received several stitches and a broken leg while her brother sustained a hand injury,” the release said.
Manchester police Lt. Brian O’Keefe said the release was written with the best information received from first responders at the scene.
“The release said a broken leg and stitches,” said O’Keefe, the public information officer for the Manchester Police Department.
Belanger said she’s not been told anything about the police inquiry into the incident and whether there will be charges brought.
She said officers told her to “hire a lawyer,” which she intends to do.
“My daughter will be scared for life from this,” she said.
“The surgeon told me, ‘I’ve patched her up but she was a mess.’ She had a plate in her thigh with eight screws in it and large lacerations that are going to leave huge scars on both legs.”
Belanger said the driver hasn’t reached out to the family since the incident.
“I don’t believe he should be driving,” she said.
O’Keefe said there are no updates to report since the accident occurred and it remains under investigation.
Belanger said she’s been gratified by how many people have come to the family’s aid.
“They are being given so much love and support, the school principal reached out, the EMTs that treated her came back to check on how she was doing,” Belanger added. “It’s gratifying to know that people care.”