A 14-month-old toddler is fighting for his life in the Intensive Care Unit following a deadly crash near Rancho Santa Fe.
On Friday, San Diego resident Monserrat Mendez, 41, was killed when an SUV struck her as she was pushing a stroller carrying a toddler in the 14700 block of Camino Del Sur and Via Verrazzano.( Sat Feb 02 12:55:04 PST 2013 $__output )
Mendez suffered critical injuries in the collision and was pronounced dead at the hospital.
The toddler (shown below) sustained major injuries and was transported to Rady Children’s Hospital, where he remained in serious condition Friday night.( Sun Feb 03 12:42:53 PST 2013 $__output )
Mendez was the boy’s nanny.
The toddler’s mother, a Santa Luz resident, spoke exclusively with NBC 7 Friday night and said Mendez had been working for her family since last September. The nanny leaves behind two teenage children of her own.( Fri Feb 01 20:48:49 PST 2013 $__output )
As for the toddler, his mother told NBC 7 that the boy remains in Intensive Care at Rady Children’s with a fractured femur, a pelvic fracture, a broken rib and a skull fracture. He also has a shattered spleen and may need surgery.
The mother said her son turns 14 months old Saturday. She said the family is in complete shock over the incident and extremely saddened by the loss of their nanny.
According to San Diego police, Mendez was pushing the stroller through the crosswalk when the deadly collision occurred. A report released by the Medical Examiner’s office late Friday night said Mendez was crossing the intersection when the driver of the SUV ran a red light.
Police said the victims were dragged from one crosswalk to the next during the collision.
The toddler’s stroller wound up wedged under the wheel of the SUV. Witness Iraj Karimi told NBC 7 that a female bicyclist pulled the toddler out from under the stroller. Karimi also said the driver was screaming following the accident.
The accident had other locals shaken up as well, including Santa Luz resident Moe Abdou.
“[This is] shocking -- absolutely shocking. It’s one of those things you just can’t imagine,” said Abdou. “I just pray the child makes it and I pray his family is doing fine. I can’t – I’m speechless.”
On Friday night, NBC 7 learned the woman driving the SUV may be a new mother herself. After running a check on the vehicle’s license plate, NBC 7 learned the car was registered to a Jeffrey Padilla who lives near the scene of the accident.
NBC 7 went to the address and a man who identified himself as a Mr. Padilla answered the door. He said his wife was too distraught to issue a statement.
“Please, she’s gone through enough,” Padilla told NBC 7. “There’s no way we can give a statement right now. We have a one-day-old baby.”
NBC 7 is choosing not to reveal the injured toddler’s name at this time. His mother gave us permission to use his photo above. The boy was featured on NBC 7’s morning show in December during our “Baby’s First Birthday” segment.
Since Friday's accident, NBC 7 has been in close, constant contact with the boy’s parents.
On Saturday, the toddler’s parents told us:
"We are devastated by the loss of our nanny. She was a wonderful woman and we truly believe that she saved our baby's life. Our love goes out to her family and everyone in the community who are supporting us during this difficult time."
On Sunday, the toddler's parents said the boy was doing a bit better and getting stronger, but he's still in serious condition at the hospital.
At this time, the driver of the SUV is cooperating with police and has not been charged in the fatal collision.