Students and faculty at Rose Park Elementary who saw schoolchildren hit by a car are shaken. But they are relieved the three were not killed.
Three students on their way home were crossing the street in a crosswalk when they were hit and run over by a 92-year-old man picking up his granddaughter just outside of the school grounds at 1130 W. Sterling Dr. (930 North), police said."I kept trying to make him stop," said Christopher Slaugh, 11.
Witnesses said the man had picked up the girl and then backed up his car about 15 feet into a crosswalk near the school.
Two children were dragged about 10 feet past the crosswalk and underneath the car. Another child was hit but bounced off of the car.
"He backed up into them and they fell down and he didn't notice and he kept backing up," said Slaugh, a sixth-grade student who witnessed Wednesday's accident.
Slaugh's teacher, Linda Moore, said she saw Michael Abouzelof, 8, resting on the floor of the school office, heard about the accident and ran outside to help.
The boy had been hit by the car but was able to walk back into the school, officers said. Moore and another teacher helped pull Aaron Jackman, 6, and James Douglas Jackson, 9, from under the car and into the middle of the road.
"That's when I almost started crying," said Albert Gallegos, 9, another eyewitness. "It was like someone hit me."
All three boys were taken to Primary Children's Medical Center. Jackson and Jackman were in stable condition Thursday. Abouzelof was treated and released.
Fifth- and sixth-grade student crossing guards were helping students cross the one-way residential street at the time of the accident, Moore said, and one student in particular was very distraught.
"She was very upset and said to me, `I held my (stop) sign up,' as if they could have prevented it. They did an excellent job," Moore said.
"I felt almost as bad for the driver. He was really shook up," said Louis Diaz, a teacher at the school, adding paramedics arrived within minutes as a crowd of students and teachers gathered around the scene.
Moore said that although it was difficult for her, it was nice to know she could react calmly during a crisis. "I constantly reminded myself that I needed to for the kids' sake.
"This is just one of the many things that have gone wrong today," she said.
Police cited the 92-year-old driver for failure to yield to people in a crosswalk.