San Diego

Man Dies After Driver Runs Him Over Steps Away From Hospital's Front Door

 An Oceanside man died just steps away from a hospital entrance when a driver suddenly accelerated and struck him and a friend, Escondido police said. 

The collision happened around 5:49 p.m. Saturday at Palomar Medical Center at 2185 Citracado Parkway.

Escondido Police said an 89-year-old San Marcos man was driving his white 2000 Toyota Tacoma near the front entrance of the hospital. All of a sudden, he accelerated and struck two people. 

One of those two people was James Donaldson, 63, of Oceanside, who had just been released from the emergency room. His friend, Elena Cendejas, 67, of Oceanside, was pushing his wheel chair across the crosswalk. When they were hit, they had barely made it off the sidewalk on their way to the parking lot, a spokeswoman for Palomar Medical Center said. 

When officers arrived minutes after the call, three people were already being treated by hospital staff. First responders had run out immediately to help the injured, a spokeswoman said.

Despite life-saving efforts, Donaldson succumbed to his injuries. Cendejas was admitted to the hospital and as of 12:45 p.m. Sunday, she is in critical condition. The Tacoma driver was evaluated, but did not sustain injuries as a result of the crash. 

The investigation into what caused the crash is ongoing, according to Escondido Police.

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