Pedestrian accident: Eight students were hospitalized — at least three in critical condition — after a pickup truck slammed into them in a crosswalk in front of Hemet High School early Wednesday afternoon.
• A Hemet High School student drove his pickup truck into a right-turn lane, gunned his engine, accelerate and plowed straight into a group of students who were trying to cross the street.
• Eight people (seven students and one adult) were hospitalized. Three of them were in critical condition.
• The incident was caught on a surveillance tape.
The accident occurred just after school was letting out, according to a report in the Riverside Press-Enterprise. A crowd of students was crossing Stetson Avenue to get from the main campus to the student parking lot by the football field.
A Ford Ranger pickup truck — driven by a Hemet High School student — was traveling west on Stetson Avenue when it entered a right-turn lane that leads to the parking lot, witnesses said. But instead of turning, the driver suddenly gunned the motor, accelerated, and drove straight into the crowd in the crosswalk.
“He revved the throttle like crazy. We heard the RPM’s build,” student Alex Bissett told the Press-Enterprise. Bissett said he and other students in the area could hear bones cracking and people screaming. “I’m still trying to wrap my head around it,” he added. “I’ve seen a lot of crazy stuff, but this tops it.”
Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department officials said in a written statement that eight people were transported to the hospital. Three of them suffered major injuries and were in critical condition.
Seven of the hospitalized victims were students and one was an adult, according to Hemet High School principal Emily Shaw. The students were taken to Riverside County Regional Medical Center in Moreno Valley, while the adult was taken to Inland Valley Regional Medical Center in Wildomar, Shaw said.
Two other people were injured but refused medical treatment at the scene, according to officials from the Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department.
“The students were crossing appropriately,” Shaw told the Press-Enterprise. “That’s what makes it tough, is when the kids were doing what they are supposed to be doing.”
California Highway Patrol officers detained the driver, whose name and age were withheld, at the scene. The accident was caught on surveillance video from multiple cameras, Shaw said. School officials were giving copies of the videotapes to law enforcement officials.
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