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4 Students Hurt by Swerving Car

The Region

Accident: Driver loses control and plows into children near Anaheim Hills school. A 13-year-old boy suffers burns as he is dragged under the vehicle.

August 08, 2001|DAN WEIKEL and KIMI YOSHINO | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

Four children were injured Tuesday, one seriously, when a motorist lost control of his car and plowed through a group of students standing on a street corner in Anaheim Hills, police said.

The accident caused pandemonium among parents and the schoolchildren who had just been let out of El Rancho Middle School for the day.

Witnesses said some children and adults ran screaming from the intersection at Fairmont Boulevard and Santa Ana Canyon Road.

Others dived into bushes or froze as a swerving Toyota Camry hit several students, including a 13-year-old boy who was dragged 50 feet.

Police said the driver suffered medical problems shortly before the crash and was complaining of chest pains and dizziness afterward.

"Kids began to scatter and scream," said Elizabeth Fey, 43, of Anaheim Hills, who watched the 3 p.m. accident unfold as she waited to pick up her daughter. "I got out of my car and went screaming because I did not know if my daughter was the one that got hurt."

Her daughter was not involved.

All of the injured are students at El Rancho, which runs on a year-round schedule.

Erick Pena, 13, of Anaheim Hills, was listed in guarded condition Tuesday night at Western Regional Medical Center in Santa Ana, with moderate to severe burns on 10% to 20% of his body.

Police said he was trapped temporarily under the Toyota and suffered burns on his back and abdomen from either hot exhaust or radiator fluid.

Chuck Keller, 11, and his 13-year-old sister, Charlene, were bruised and bloodied in the accident, witnesses said. They were taken to Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Anaheim. Information about their condition was unavailable.

The car also grazed a 10-year-old boy, who was not seriously hurt and declined medical attention. His identity was not available Tuesday night.

Police said Thomas P. Guagliardo, 54, of Anaheim, was heading east on Santa Ana Canyon when his car veered onto the sidewalk, brushing past the 10-year-old.

Guagliardo's car, police said, swerved back across the street, striking a white Ford Expedition as its driver prepared to turn onto Fairmont.

The impact forced the big sport utility vehicle into the intersection, where it struck a van and spun around.

Police said Guagliardo's car then headed toward the students on the corner.

Guagliardo was listed in stable condition at Placentia Linda Hospital.

No details of his injuries were available.

Marion Guagliardo of Anaheim, the motorist's mother, said her son apparently had blacked out while driving, but she added that she was not aware that he had any serious health problems.

His driving record shows no violations.

Police said the driver of the Ford Expedition, Brent Hoops, 40, of Anaheim, suffered minor injuries in the accident. Hoops was treated at Placentia Linda Hospital and released.

Times staff writers Jessica Garrison, Jason Song and Mai Tran contributed to this report.

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