By DOUGLAS W. MOTLEY – Senior Writer
A 13-year-old Crestline girl, who had just stepped off of a school bus that was dropping off students from Mary Putnam Henck Intermediate School around 4:15 p.m. on Friday, May 12, suffered moderate injuries after being struck by a dark blue Dodge Ram pickup truck in the vicinity of Knapps Cutoff and Woodsy Road near Three Marm Brewing Co. in Crestline.
According to an eyewitness, the girl was already off the bus and walking toward her home when the truck struck the girl and three parked vehicles.
“The driver continued to drive along Knapps and turned up Woodsy, continuing to hit things along the roadside. The CHP found the suspect passed out in his driveway,” said Chris Osterhold, who witnessed the incident and reported it to the CHP. “I found his house and took the CHP there. They got the guy. He also hit a teenage girl. She’s OK but was transported to Loma Linda (Loma Linda University Medical Center).”
In a Facebook post, the girl’s father, Neal Watson, said, “It was my daughter he hit. She’s doing well. Waiting for the CT scan results but looks like just a broken nose. I hope this (offensive word) gets the maximum sentence.”
Other witnesses at the scene said the yet-to-be-identified alleged suspect appeared to be intoxicated at the time of the incident. Under California Vehicle Code, VC20002, hit and run can be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony. If convicted as a misdemeanor, the punishment is a fine of between $1,000 and $10,000 and up to one year in county jail. If convicted as a felony, the penalty is a fine of between $1,000 and $10,000 and 16 months to three years in state prison.
According to California Vehicle Code VC23153, a conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs (DUI) causing injury can result in a penalty of two, three or four years in state prison.