Venice woman hit by teen driver while walking with baby in stroller speaks out against Gascón

Josh Haskell Image
Friday, June 10, 2022
Venice woman hit by teen driver while walking with baby speaks out
A Venice mother was walking her eight-month-old in a stroller when a rental car driven by a 16-year-old toppled them over, then tried to flee in August of 2021.

VENICE, Calif. (KABC) -- A Venice woman who was hit by a car while walking her eight-month-old in a stroller, an incident that was caught on video, says she is outraged by the punishment the teenage driver received.

The rental car was being driven by a Palmdale resident who had just turned 16 years old the day before, didn't have his license, was under the influence and on probation for another incident.

Video captured the moment the car hit the woman, who asked to only be identified by her first name, and the stroller, toppling them over. The driver then tried to flee after the August 2021 incident.

"He hit us. He had no intention of stopping," Rachel said. "He did slow down after he hit us and I believe that's because he saw the oncoming truck that ended up ramming him into the telephone pole."

Horrifying video shows a woman pushing a baby in a stroller when they are mowed down by a driver in Venice, later identified by police as a 16-year-old under the influence of drugs.

According to Rachel, the 16-year-old was tested for drugs at the scene and had marijuana and Xanax in his system. Rachel believes this was no accident.

"I'd like to believe that somebody... that I don't know wouldn't just try to intentionally kill me and my child, but once I learned on Sunday that the kid had a prior felony charge for poisoning a girl in his high school, there's just no doubt," Rachel said. "The mental toll on me is just, it's really hard to wrap your head around somebody just trying to kill you."

Rachel's son, now a year and a half old, had a tire mark on his head and although not seriously injured, suffered day and night terrors for two months following the incident.

Rachel suffered a laceration on her back and needed stitches on her right elbow.

The office of Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón charged the driver, who is a minor, with two counts of felony assault and one count of felony leaving the scene. The now 17-year-old was sentenced to 5 to 7 months in a juvenile probation camp.

Rachel, who voted for Gascón, but now supports the recall effort, calls the punishment laughable.

"I think everybody can agree that we need to reform the system in a big way, but, I don't understand why there can't be law and order and reform at the same time. Why does it have to be one or the other?" Rachel said.

In a series of tweets, Gascón's office said misinformation has circulated about the incident and that there's no evidence of "attempted murder."

Rather, the District Attorney's office said in a tweet: "Unfortunately, opponents are attempting to capitalize on this incident & are using the victim to advance the false premise that this sentencing is tied to the DA's criminal reform policies. The truth is our office simply followed California law."

Gascón's office said they know the trauma will impact Rachel's family forever, adding that Victim Services has reached out.

But Rachel tells Eyewitness News that because of this incident, the lack of justice, and the fact that she doesn't feel safe, her family is moving out of L.A. County.