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Elderly Driver Hits Students, Adults Crossing Meridian Street

Three Yorkdale Elementary School students are believed to be among those injured.

Firefighters taking the injured to hospital from the scene of the accident. (Photo credit: Michael Nogueira/Sir Michael's Party Rentals).
Firefighters taking the injured to hospital from the scene of the accident. (Photo credit: Michael Nogueira/Sir Michael's Party Rentals).

Update:

Five family members were injured Friday, two of them critically, when they were hit by an SUV driven by an 87-year-old man as they crossed a Highland Park street near Yorkdale Elementary School, a Los Angeles Fire Department official said.   

The incident occurred at 8:12 a.m. in the 900 block of North Avenue 57, Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Erik Scott said.   

The collision left a 52-year-old grandmother and a 10-year-old girl in critical condition, LAFD Battalion Chief Steve Ruda said. A 32-year-old woman who is the daughter of the 59-year-old woman and her two sons, ages 7 and 9, were listed in serious condition, Ruda said. The 10-year-old girl was a cousin, he said. All three children were believed to be Yorkdale students. 

“The grandmother was taken to Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena and the other four people were transported to LAC-USC Medical Center, but the driver was not injured,” Ruda said.   

The driver—identified in broadcast reports as 87-year-old Luis Carbajal— ran a stop sign as the family walked from Meridian Street to North Avenue 57 in a crosswalk, LAPD spokesman Richard French told City News Service.    

Carbajal, who stopped after the collision and was cooperating with police, was not arrested, said Lt. Melody Hainline of the LAPD's Central Traffic Division. She did not confirm the driver's identity.

An area resident told NBC4 Carbajal said his foot “got stuck” and he could not brake. “He stopped in the middle of the street and he was devastated,” Wilson Caraman told NBC4.

— City News Service

Previously:

An elderly man driving a car allegedly hit a number of students and adults on Meridian Street in Highland Park Friday morning. 

According to witnesses, two students from Yorkdale Elementary School on Meridian Street and three adults were injured in the accident.

The cause of the accident was not immediately known.

An officer at the Central Traffic Collision Division of the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed that the accident occurred on Meridian and Avenue 57. But the officer, who identified himself over the phone only as Aguayo, told Patch at around 9:30 a.m. that he did not have any details of the accident. Traffic officers were still at the scene of the accident, he said.

Yorkdale Elementary School Principal Carol Green told Patch that she and her staff were “gathering the evidence” and that was unable to provide any specific information. “I can’t confirm anything at this point,” she said in response to a question about how many students from her school might have been involved in the accident.

Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council President Michael Nogueira, who happened to be in the area and took the attached photos, told Patch that the injured were taken to hospital in an ambulance soon after the accident, which, he said, occurred around 8 a.m. 

“I believe they were on a crosswalk but there’s no crossing guard there,” said Nogueira, who is also the president of the Eagle Rock Chamber of Commerce as well as the owner of Sir Michael’s Party Rentals on Eagle Rock Boulevard.

The elderly driver appeared to be in his eighties, Nogueira said, adding: “I asked him if he wanted me to call someone for him. He said, No, I’m okay.”

Patch will update this story as further details come to light.

henk friezer January 24, 2014 at 06:13 PM
Nice to see that Mike Nogueira has joined the ranks of the paparazzi
nonoise January 24, 2014 at 09:37 PM
One news report said the driver said he hit the gas instead of the brake. Why wasn't his passenger driving for him? No crosswalk or signal would have helped.
henk friezer January 25, 2014 at 02:39 AM
Not to minimize this tragic accident, but pedestrians should be aware that being in a crosswalk is not always safe. Most have a false sense of security when they cross in a crosswalk, be at a light or stop sign (As this incident proves). Always be alert for the driver that may be distracted or impaired. I always cross with caution, even with the right of way, I have observed cars blowing through crosswalks with pedestrians many times
nonoise January 25, 2014 at 02:10 PM
When older drivers should no longer drive, it is friends and relatives duty to do the right thing and stop them from driving. That means taking away the keys or notifiying the DMV. Stop the Farmer's Market tragedy and this one too from happening again. It happens way too many times. Those that know the driver should not be driving and still allow it should be fined.
henk friezer January 25, 2014 at 05:43 PM
The hardest thing I had to do is stop my 86 year old mother from driving. There were some warning signs, so I saw potential hazard of her continuing to the mall, etc. I could not bear having to tell her she could not drive anymore, so at her next doctor visit, I took the doc aside and told him about the situation. He did not want to tell her (saying it was not his responsibility). When I told that if she had an accident I would hold him accountable, since he was aware of what could happen with her medical situation, he had second thoughts and told her it would be best if she would no longer get behind the wheel. Funny thing was, my mom understood and accepted it. So if family or friends do not want to do the dirty deed, ask the family doctor, the elderly driver will accept it more readily.

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