Driver who hit 3 girls in Valley Village was in rental car

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The driver who struck three teenage girls in Valley Village was driving a rental car from Hertz, according to the CHP.

The driver who struck three teenage girls in Valley Village was driving a rental car from Hertz, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The driver, 48-year-old Vartan Vartanian, claims the brakes on the rental Prius failed as he came down the Magnolia off-ramp from the 170 Freeway, causing him to run the light, hit the victims and ram into a Nissan Sentra Wednesday afternoon.

The accident left one Oakwood Secondary School student on life support and two other students injured.

"It's way too early in the investigation to determine if there was any criminal negligence on the part of Mr. Vartanian. So we need to rule out mechanical defect first," said CHP Officer Leland Tang.

Hertz issued a brief statement saying it is cooperating with local authorities during the investigation.

"Unfortunately, at this time, we have no further comment on the incident as it is an ongoing investigation," Hertz said.

The CHP says the three students were walking back from PE class with their teacher when the accident happened.

Some people say they are not surprised by the accident because they believe the whole intersection is congested and dangerous.

"I ride up and down this stretch of Magnolia Boulevard every day and I am scared for my life. The problem is the drivers aren't paying attention," said Julie Griffin of Valley Village.

A crossing guard manned the Magnolia off-ramp all day on Thursday following the crash.

"I walk this neighborhood every day. I have never felt in danger. I see kids being stupid all the time though, so if anything, I think we need school patrol here," said Sara Starr of Valley Village.

Tang says he does not believe the crossing guard stationed at the off-ramp could have prevented the accident.

"If the crossing guard had been there, we would have one additional person that probably would have been injured as well," said Tang.


Related Topics:
accidentpedestrian struckValley Village
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