By JASON KOTOWSKI, Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
One East Bakersfield High School student was in critical condition Tuesday and another had been released from the hospital following a hit-and-run Monday afternoon, according to school officials.
The boys, who officials said they could not name, were running on College Avenue near Los Robles Drive when a vehicle swerved at and struck them before driving off, Principal Lee Vasquez said.
“As you go through your career these students become your extended family and I know that’s the case with our teachers and with our students here and we are all sending them our best and our prayers,” Vasquez said.
The students — both members of the track team — were hit as they were running a little farther ahead of a larger group of students. Vasquez said other students provided comfort to the injured boys before emergency responders arrived.
Vasquez said the boy still in the hospital suffered a head injury. He said it’s fortunate that Kern Medical Center is located nearby so the boys could quickly receive treatment.
Runners who witnessed the incident and friends of the boys have been referred to the school’s counseling team.
“They’re pretty shaken,” said Athletic Director Ted Armijo. “They’re a strong knit group.”
Armijo said the track team has been running in the area for 50 years and nothing like this has ever happened before. He said there’s not a whole lot you can do to avoid something like this, and an erratic driver like the one on Monday poses a danger even to people on the sidewalk.
Vasquez said the school’s track is being used by other groups at this time of year and it’s also not an optimal place for long-distance runners such as the injured boys to practice.
Vasquez said the suspect vehicle was described as a gold or beige 1990s Nissan Altima, and it should have front damage and possible windshield damage.
California Highway Patrol Officer Robert Rodriguez, a spokesman for the department, could not be reached for comment.
Anyone with information is asked to call the California Highway Patrol at 864-4444.