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Girl injured in car crash flown to Oakland

Published: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 10:11 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 10:11 a.m.

Two Petaluma residents — a young girl and an elderly woman — were injured in separate pedestrian-versus-car accidents on Tuesday.

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Officers inspect the scene of an accident where a young girl was hit by a van on Tuesday, Dec. 18.

John O'Hara / For the Argus-Courier

An 11-year-old girl is in critical condition after she was run over by a van while crossing the street near her school, McKinley Elementary, shortly after classes ended.

According to witnesses, the girl was walking with a female classmate at about 2:50 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, when she and her friend ran out into Ellis Street, south of the crosswalk, said Petaluma Police Lt. Tim Lyons.

Witnesses told officers that the male driver of a white Ford van swerved to avoid colliding with the girls. Police said it appears that the injured girl struck the side of the van, rolled under the vehicle and was run over.

She was first taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital with serious injuries, then was flown to Oakland Children's Hospital, where she is in the intensive care unit, Lyons said. The girl's classmate fell backwards during the accident, striking her head, and was evaluated at Petaluma Valley Hospital.

The 34-year-old van driver, who appeared visibly upset, was cooperating with officers at the scene. Police said that there was no indication that the driver was speeding, and that he appeared to make a serious attempt to miss the girls.

McKinley Principal Matthew Harris was reportedly on the scene moments after the accident, helping the girl. The girl's teacher then kept her company in the ambulance, while Harris drove her mother, who speaks Spanish and arrived after the ambulance left, to the hospital.

A school official said that the Harris would be traveling from class to class Wednesday morning with the school counselor to talk to students.

Earlier that day, at about 8 a.m., a 78-year-old woman was struck while crossing Linnet Way near Hawk Drive with two other women and two dogs.

The victim, Mary Lee, of Petaluma, sustained serious injuries and was taken to a local hospital, though police said the injuries do not appear to be life-threatening.

The accident occurred when 25-year-old Petaluman Weizen Frias, 25, was driving his Honda on Hawk Drive and turned right onto Linnet Way, striking Lee as she made her way across the road.

Frias' visibility was limited by an icy windshield and sun, playing a major factor in the accident, police said.

Neither drugs nor alcohol appeared to be a factor in either accident.

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