Three middle school girls were killed and another seriously hurt after a pickup truck plowed into them in a hit-and-run crash in California on Saturday night, reports said.
The two occupants of the 2002 Chevy Silverado exited the vehicle and hightailed it into the dark desert with flashlights after hitting the four girls – two of them were in wheelchairs – on Camp Rock Road in Lucerne Valley, the Daily Press said.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office identified the three girls pronounced dead at the scene as 11-year-old Willow Sanchez, 12-year-old Daytona Bronas and 13-year-old Sandra Mizer.
Police didn’t name the surviving victim who was airlifted to a local hospital, but the Press identified her as eighth grader Natalia Coe – reportedly one of the two who was in a wheelchair.
The area has desert terrain, with sand difficult to navigate for people on wheelchairs, which one school board member said was a reason the four girls were walking along the asphalt road when they were hit from behind, the Press reported.
“They just got out for summer break, so this is their first opportunity to have sleep-overs, hang out, play, just be children again after a year in lock-down,” school Trustee Jessica Risler told the publication.
There were no sidewalks in the remote area, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“It’s pretty desolate out there, and there are hardly any shoulders at all,” Highway Patrol Office Dan Olivas told the Times.
Witness accounts said that a man and woman got out of the truck appearing intoxicated and ran into the desert when they saw the girls in the street, the Press said.