A pickup truck ran a red light yesterday in Hemet, and struck eight high school students in a crosswalk, The Press-Enterprise reports. The accident, which occurred on May 30, 2012, sent eight people to the hospital, according to California Highway Patrol officers.
The Press-Enterprise reports that mechanical trouble is claimed as the cause of the accident, and as a result a detailed inspection of the pickup is being conducted. Darren Meyer, a CHP spokesman, said the Major Accident Investigation team would examine the 1994 Ford to see if there are any mechanical failures, as the driver told authorities that the brakes had failed. Meyer said the investigators would go over the vehicle with a fine tooth comb. The detailed investigation with show evidence of, or rule out, mechanical failure, according to Meyer.
Meyer also said it may take until late next week to determine the cause of the crash. The case would then be sent to the District Attorney’s office to see if charges should be brought against the driver, The Press-Enterprise reports.
The crash was recorded on seven different cameras outside the school, CHP said, and the footage was being reviewed. CHP would not release the video, The Press-Enterprise reports.
This morning, crews from CHP were back at the school to put together diagrams of the intersection to reconstruct the accident scene. Crisis counselors were available at the school on Thursday, and a number of students were seeking help to discuss their emotions after the crash, The Press-Enterprise reports.
Yesterday’s crash near Hemet High School occurred in a designated crosswalk that has a traffic light. The Press-Enterprise reports that after a student was struck in September, the area was reviewed by the county and it was determined to be safe. Hemet High School principal Emily Shaw said in The P-E news story that the length of time for students to cross is longer than most standard crossing areas. Staff for the campus also watches students as they cross before and after classes. A safety fence that divides the east and west lanes along Stetson prevents students from crossing mid-block, and as a result, they can only cross at the light.
According to CHP officers, the pickup truck that 18-year-old eleventh grade student Daniel Carrillo was driving was going faster than the 25 miles per hour speed limit for the school zone when it entered the intersection at Stetson and Bulldog Way. Roughly 30 students were crossing Stetson Avenue with the signal at that time the truck entered the crosswalk.
All of the injured people were students, Meyer said, and each has a good prognosis. According to The P-E story, the latest reported condition of the hospitalized victims states that four students were treated and released, two were hospitalized with moderate injuries, and two remain in critical condition.
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