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September 18, 2013

3 Calif. children hit in crosswalk, taken to hospital

The Bakersfield Californian

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Three children were transported to the hospital by ambulance after being hit by a car in a crosswalk at the intersection of Eissler and Auburn streets in northeast Bakersfield Monday morning while on their way to school.

A 10-year-old girl and an 11-year-old boy complained of pain and a 4-year-old boy sufferered serious injuries, according to a report from the Bakersfield Police Department.

The accident happened at around 7:39 a.m., police said.

Eissler Elementary School crossing guard Rachel Garcia said she was nearly to the middle of Auburn?Street when she saw the metallic tan Ford Taurus coming at her and the three schoolchildren following her.

“I told the kids to run,” Garcia said.

And they ran, she said, but not with her toward the north side of Auburn. Instead, they ran south where the mother of at least two of the children watched from the sidewalk.

All three children were hit by the Ford, police said.

One of the children’s shoes was found under the Ford.

“The mother always stands here and watches them cross,” Garcia said. “She kisses them and watches them cross. She comes every morning religiously.”

The driver of the Ford, who police identified as Theresa Hall, 28, was traveling east on Auburn into the sun in the south lane when she saw the walkers. She slammed on the breaks as her car reached the intersection with Eissler Street.

The vehicle left skid marks that started just inches before the west crosswalk and ended beyond the other side of the intersection.

A man who identified himself as the boyfriend of the children’s mother said he couldn’t comment on the incident — which Garcia said he also witnessed — without the mother’s approval.

The type and extent of the childrens' injuries was not known.

“I’m trying not to let it affect me,” Garcia said as she continued to shuttle children across the busy street Monday morning. “But I need to get out of here.”

Hall, who cried continuously as she was interviewed by police, said she wanted the family of the children to know she was sorry.

“I just want the family to be OK,” she said.

Police said Hall was issued a traffic ticket and released at the scene.

But a later update from police stated that an investigation of the incident was ongoing and Hall would, at the conclusion of the investigation, “be charged with appropriate traffic violations.”

Garcia said she and the children had a green light —?and green crosswalk signal — before entering Auburn Street from the southeast corner of the intersection.

Fay Bailey, 86, lives in the first house just south of the intersection.

“I’ve worried about these children for 37 years,” she said.

Drivers speed and drive recklessly along Auburn Street, she said, especially at night.

“The traffic here is horrendous.”

Copyright 2013 The Bakersfield Californian

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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