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5 children struck by elderly driver in Hemet

November 13, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Five children are in the hospital Saturday after being hit by a car driven by an elderly driver in Hemet.The crash happened around 5:10 p.m. Friday at Cypress and Kirby streets near Mary Henley Park.

Investigators said a motorist heading toward the intersection saw the group of children and yielded to allow them to cross. However, a second vehicle, driven by an 89-year-old woman, passed the stopped vehicle and struck the children.

The children are 5, 6, 7, 12 and 14 years old. Three were transported to Riverside County Regional Medical Center with critical injuries and two were transported to Inland Valley Medical Center with serious injuries.

There is no crosswalk in the intersection where the children were struck.

Sean Weidmann said his four children and his niece were playing at the park Friday when he called his 14-year-old daughter and told her it was time to come home for dinner, but they didn't make it across the street.

Weidmann said a neighbor frantically rang his doorbell and told him the children had been hit by a car. He said he ran a quarter of a mile to find them in the street.

"My legs turned into Jell-O. It felt like I was part of the concrete, like I couldn't even move anymore," Weidmann said. "I continued to run and I came up upon Carly, my niece Carly Haley, laying on the ground unconscious, barely breathing."

He said his 12-year-old niece is in a medically-induced coma and his children have a lot of scrapes and bruises.

Weidmann said that many drivers speed on Kirby Street and urged everyone to slow down and pay attention. The speed limit on the street is 35 miles per hour, but Weidmann said many drivers go close to 60 miles per hour.

"I was very sad to see those kids out there. I'm glad it wasn't mine," said neighbor Mario Ortiz. He said cars usually drive faster than the 40 mile-per-hour speed limit.

The driver, who was not injured in the accident, had not been cited. Initial investigation ruled out alcohol as a factor.

Police said the elderly driver's vision was likely impaired by the stopped car in front of her. They also said she was not speeding.


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