South LA crash: Elderly driver says he thinks brakes failed


The accident happened at 53rd and Main streets outside Main Street Elementary School at about 2:30 p.m., just after school had let out for the day.

Eleven people were taken to local hospitals, according to the fire department. Two adults and nine children were injured, including three 4-year-old boys and one 11-year-old boy. Most people were treated and released, officials said. Two children remained hospitalized Wednesday night. Doctors said one child was being held overnight for observation and the other was in critical but stable condition.

Preston Carter, who says he turns 101 years old next month, says he went to get groceries at Food 4 Less and was backing out of a parking lot to go home at the time of the accident.

"I lost control of the car. The brakes failed, I think," he said. "I'm sorry."

In the moments following the accident, rescue workers scrambled to treat the people struck by the car. One of the victims was Jacinda Jimenez, who was carrying her 1-year-old daughter.

"The next thing I knew, I was hit by a car and I was knocked over. The first thing that I did, I kind of threw my baby into the air so that the baby would not end up underneath the running car," Jimenez said through a translator.

Jimenez and her daughter were both checked out and released from the hospital. Jimenez said that right after the accident, both children and adults were screaming. According to witness Alma Solache, there were four people underneath the vehicle.

Solache said the man tried to drive his car off the sidewalk, only stopping when people started banging on his window and yelling that kids were trapped underneath.

The LAPD says no crime was committed, and that Carter would not be facing charges for the accident. Mechanics were to examine Carter's blue Cadillac for mechanical failures. Carter's daughter said her father will no longer be driving.

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