Stroller Tot Struck by SUV Released From Hospital

The collision took the life of the boy's nanny, 41-year-old Monserrat Mendez and left the toddler with serious injuries

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC 7 San Diego

    A 14-month-old toddler who was seriously injured after an SUV struck his stroller at an intersection in Santaluz was released from the hospital Friday night, his parents told NBC 7.

    On Feb. 1, the boy’s nanny, Monserrat Mendez, 41, was killed when an SUV ran a red light as Mendez was pushing a stroller carrying the toddler in the 14700 block of Camino Del Sur and Via Verrazzano.

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    Mendez suffered critical injuries in the collision and later died at the hospital.

    The boy in the stroller sustained major injuries and was transported to Rady Children’s Hospital, where he remained in the Intensive Care Unit for several days.

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    A bicyclist passing by the scene of the fatal collision helped pull the boy out from the stroller, which was wedged under the SUV. Last weekend, she shared her story of stumbling upon the horrific wreckage with NBC 7.

    The boy, who turned 14 months old on Feb. 2, fought for his life this week as he recovered from multiple injuries including a fractured femur, a pelvic fracture, a broken rib and a skull fracture.

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    On Sunday evening, the boy’s parents said he had been weaned off heavy pain medication and his test results showed no bleeding, swelling or tearing in his brain. The positive signs came after a "touch and go" first few days in the hospital, with uncertainty over the potential injuries and trauma as a result of the impact.

    Now, one week after the deadly collision that took his nanny’s life, the boy’s family confirms the tot is recovering at home, surrounded by those who love him.

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    The boy’s mother spoke to NBC 7 exclusively and said:

    “We are thrilled to have him home, where he can heal from his wounds in a familiar environment. We are looking forward to getting him back in his normal routine."

    His mother says the boy has a soft cast on his leg and a hard cast on his arm. In time, his family is hopeful the toddler’s wounds will fully heal.

    But the emotional wounds over the loss of the family’s beloved nanny won’t scar quickly.

    Last weekend, the toddler’s parents told NBC 7 they were completely torn up over the death of Mendez, known to loved ones as “Monse.”

    His 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."

    The boy’s parents said Mendez (pictured below) was their son’s best friend and treated the tot as her own.

    "She is a hero in our eyes and we are forever grateful to her for saving [our son] in this horrific event,” they said.

    Mendez leaves behind two children of her own. Last weekend, flowers were placed at the intersection where the nanny was fatally hit as part of a makeshift memorial.

    The family of Mendez issued the following statement Monday to NBC 7 through a family friend: “The family is devastated with this tragedy. We are still in shock, but we will always remember Monse as a strong and caring woman."

    Friends of Mendez have set up a fund to help her family. Interested donors can go to any Wells Fargo Branch and make a deposit to the “Monserrat Mendez Memorial Fund."

    As for the female driver of the SUV, NBC 7 learned last week that she 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.”

    Police have not yet released the name of the driver of the SUV, as the investigation into the crash is still pending. She is cooperating with police and has not been charged in the fatal collision.

    Earlier this week, the SUV driver's family spoke out, saying they were "heartbroken" over the accident. They expressed condolences to both Mendez's family and the toddler's family.