MARTINEZ (KPIX) — The Contra Costa division of the California Highway Patrol is asking for the public’s help identifying a hit-and-run driver whose van struck a seven-year-old boy riding his scooter in Martinez Thursday afternoon.
The little boy suffered major injuries. His mother said he is in stable condition now and recovering at Oakland Children’s Hospital.
Surveillance footage from a neighbor’s camera showed young Owen Jones riding his scooter in front of his house on Vine Avenue just before 4 o’clock Thursday afternoon.
As he rolled out of his driveway onto the street, it appeared he saw a van coming in his direction. He tried to stop the scooter but fell to the ground. The surveillance footage showed the van running over Owen and driving off as family members ran out of the house in shock. Owen’s cousin chased after the van which rapidly sped away.
“He had a major laceration on his leg that required surgery to close,” said the boy’s mother Amanda Jones. “Thank God he has no broken bones. He has a concussion,” she added.
Paramedics airlifted Owen to the hospital. Jones said it’s a miracle her son has no major internal injuries.
“He’s in good spirits, he’s alert. He’s moving around. He doesn’t remember actually what happened,” Jones said.
Nextdoor neighbor Brandi Pixton witnessed the crash and believed the boy’s helmet saved him.
“I think it’s insane. It’s so scary that it could’ve been my kid. It makes me sick that they would just keep going,” Pixton said.
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Neighbors saw what appeared to be the same van and driver making package deliveries before the collision. The driver wore a reflective vest. Some neighbors said they believe the suspect may be an Amazon contract delivery driver but the CHP has made no mention of that possibility.
“There should be some type of damage to the front area of this white box truck,” said CHP spokesman Brandon Correia. “There might be a paint transfer from the kid’s helmet. There might be paint transfer from the scooter or just small indentations (to the van),” officer Correia added.
Correia said it’s hard to tell from the video how fast the van was going or if the driver was distracted. The CHP is asking the driver to surrender.
“Turn yourself in! Do the right thing and be held accountable for hurting my son,” Amanda Jones said. “All (the driver) had to do was stop. It was an accident. His response was tragic. It was an accident and he drove away disgustingly!”
Had the driver stopped, the CHP said it would have been viewed as an accident but now it has been elevated to a felony hit-and-run crash.
Jones said that — despite the tragedy — she has seen a lot of goodness in her community. She said strangers and neighbors offered food and help to her family and she has been overwhelmed by their kindness and support.