Police identify 5-year-old fatally struck by hit-and-run driver in Gardena

Jory Rand Image
Tuesday, February 13, 2024
Police ID 5-year-old fatally struck by hit-and-run driver in Gardena
The search continues for the driver who killed a 5-year-old boy as he crossed the street with his grandmother in a hit-and-run crash over the weekend in Gardena.

GARDENA, Calif. (KABC) -- The search continues for the driver who killed a young child in a hit-and-run crash over the weekend in Gardena.

Police say the driver crashed into 5-year-old Patrick Mateo Chacon and his grandmother Sunday as they walked in the crosswalk on Marine Avenue and Budlong Avenue. That driver then took off.

"You didn't even have sympathy. Doesn't matter who it was or what it was, you should've stopped. You really should've stopped," said Anesa Boone, an area resident.

The incident happened at 10:30 a.m., according to authorities. They describe the vehicle involved in the hit-and-run as a mid-sized dark-colored SUV.

The boy's grandmother was rushed to the hospital and is in stable condition, according to police. Patrick died from his injuries.

"Once I figured out it was a child, it was heartbreaking," said Linda Paterson, who witnessed the aftermath of the crash. "The grandmother was on the ground crying, and it was very, very sad to watch."

Patrick's mother works at a nearby Domino's restaurant. Her coworkers said they're devastated.

"Single mother, hard-working. We all had a lot of love for them," said Claudio Rodriguez, one of the mother's coworkers. "He used to come here and wait for his mom to get off work. He liked school. He liked soccer, and he was friendly and sweet to everybody."

A GoFundMe has been established to help Patrick's family.

Investigators say that speed does not appear to be a factor in this crash. Local residents, however, say speeding through red lights in the area is all too common.

"Not too long ago there was a car that reamed off the corner and hit that fence and reamed off the house to the corner over there. So this is a dangerous intersection here," said Ruben Rivera.

"We need to more stops between Marine and Normandie," said Sylvia Quintana, who lives near the intersection where the fatal crash occurred. "Every six months it's a car accident."

Flowers and candles were placed at the crash site.

An elementary school is just a few blocks away from the intersection and sees children crossing the street in this area daily. Residents are asking city leaders to make a change.

"I really think they need to add something here. Some speed bumps or something because throughout this whole street, there's nothing," said Boone.

Heartbroken over the incident, Paterson sent a strong message to the driver.

"It was senseless ... that somebody could hit somebody and not know whether you killed somebody and to just keep going," she said. "You hit two people, two human beings, one being a child who had everything to look forward to in life until you just decided you needed to be somewhere faster, or wasn't paying attention, or was texting or whatever. That you just weren't watching."

Investigators say they have some positive leads but they are still searching for the driver that fled the scene. Anyone with information regarding this case is urged to contact Investigator Jose Zamudio with the Gardena Police Department at (310)217-6189 or Sgt. Daniel Guzzo at (310)217-6122.