Nine children struck by car at Del Mar school

Posted at 3:08 PM, May 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-17 00:09:25-04

It was a nightmarish scene at Del Mar Heights Elementary School Friday after school when a grandmother plowed into a group of young school children waiting for their parents to pick them up.

“All these kids are running, and it hits these kids," said student Jacob Chen. "One was run over.” 

Video from Sky10 showed a dented car on the sidewalk, crushed stroller and an empty baby’s seat on the cement.

“Apparently, the car hit an area where I think the kindergarteners were lined up, so these were really young kids,” said  parent Johnny Chen.  His wife saw the crash, he said.

“This happened so suddenly,” said Jacob.

Police say a 70-year-old grandmother, driving a silver Honda Civic, was picking up her grandchildren when she backed into another car.

“Then it appears, perhaps, she may have panicked, drove forward, what appears to the wrong way through the parking lot and struck the group of parents and children and teachers that were waiting for rides,” said Lt. Scott Bender, of the San Diego Police Department.

Police say the injured children are between the ages of 11 months and nine years. A 49-year-old adult was also hit, police said.

“There was a baby on the ground and this kid was under the tire, the right tire, the right front tire,” said Jacob.

Police said the 11-month-old was pinned under the car in a car seat, which protected the baby.

“One of the teachers had the peace of mind to quickly jump into the car and reverse the car because the kid was pinned, so really smart, quick thinking by that teacher,” said Johnny  Chen.

“I cried. My sister cried. Many other dozens of kids cried,” Jacob Chen said.

Medics took six of the injured youngsters to hospitals, three with major trauma and the others with minor injuries, said Lee Swanson, a spokesman for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.

Some of the children remain hospitalized as of Saturday afternoon, according to authorities.

"The three children who went to Rady Children's Hospital were pretty serious," Swanson said. Two children were taken to Sharp Memorial in San Diego and another child was taken to Scripps Encinitas.

The father of the nine-year-old boy hit told 10News that when he saw his son on the paramedic board at the scene he was frightened, but as it turns out his son suffered only scrapes and bruises and is recovering at home.

“A lot of kids were crying, and pretty upset; pretty unpleasant scene and pretty tough thing for the kids,” said Johnny Chen.

The most severe injury was sustained by a five-year-old boy who suffered a broken femur, police said.

Three of the children are from the same family.

“We just have never seen anything like that before,” Jacob Chen said.

The grandmother was not arrested.

The SDPD Traffic Division is investigating the incident and do not yet know if the driver will be cited.