A first grade student was airlifted to Rady Children's Hospital in critical condition Friday morning after the boy and his father were hit by a car in front of Monte Vista Elementary School in Vista, officials confirmed.
The accident happened around 8:30 a.m. at the school located at 1720 Monte Vista Rd. near Valley Drive. Investigators with the Vista Sheriff's Department said the 28-year-old father and his 6-year-old son were struck by a woman driving a Nissan Murano as they walked across the street, hand-in-hand.
The child was flown via helicopter from the scene to the hopsital with life-threatening injuries. The father was taken by ground ambulance to Palomar Medical Center with serious unspecified injuries.
As of 10:15 a.m., the father's condition was unknown. At 9:20 p.m., a media relations officer at Rady Children's Hospital confirmed the boy was still in critical condition, but said no further information was available.
The names of the father and son were not released.
The victim’s brother-in-law told NBC 7 he was dropping off his own child at school when he got a phone call from his sister telling him about the horrific accident. He pulled his car over near the elementary school and rushed to the area.
In front of the school, he said he saw his brother-in-law and nephew lying in the road, with paramedics tending to the injured victims.
“They looked pretty bad – especially my nephew,” he told NBC 7.
Items belonging to the father and son were strewn about the roadway, including a pair of black Batman shoes presumably belonging to the child, as well as a backpack.
Two witnesses told NBC 7 the father and his young son were walking in a crosswalk at the time of the collision. Sheriff's investigators confirmed the pair was in the crosswalk.
The investigation is ongoing, and officials have not yet released details on how, exactly, the accident transpired. Officials said a crossing guard was working the area in front of the school at the time of the crash and she was interviewed by investigators.
It is unclear, at this point, if the crossing guard motioned for the father and son to cross the street.
Meanwhile, the driver in this accident was questioned by investigators but was released at the scene. She is currently not facing any charges, as the incident remains under investigation.
A parent of a Monte Vista Elementary School student told NBC 7 there are dangerous traffic problems near the school and some parents have been pushing to improve traffic enforcement in the area.
Lauren Lieberman told NBC 7 too many cars drive at high speeds in front of the school. She said she’s not pointing fingers but feels the problem could be easily fixed.
Monte Vista is one of 10 schools in this district under the Safe Routes to Schools program. That means the City of Vista and the district have partnered to make walking to school safer.
On October 19, a city traffic engineer stopped by the campus and did a "walkable audit," according to Steve Hargrave, Director of Student Services for Vista Unified:
While the results won't be released until the end of next month, the district expects to receive feedback on things such as sidewalks, signal lights and street lights.
Monte Vista Elementary School educates students in kindergarten through fifth grade.