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CHP: Hemet School Crash Not an 'Accident,' Driver Faces Charges

The teenager behind the wheel of the truck that hit a group of students had only been licensed for 15 days when the collision happened, according to the California Highway Patrol.

A newly-licensed Hemet teenager is facing criminal charges in last week's school-front crash that sent eight Hemet High School students to the hospital, a CHP spokesman said Monday.

Eighteen-year-old Daniel Carrillo was driving his Ford Ranger truck in front of the school on Wednesday, when he plowed into a group of 30 students walking in a crosswalk in front of the school, according to CHP Officer Darren Meyer.

Carrillo had only been licensed to drive for 15 days when the crash happened.

—three of them with critical injuries, according to Meyer. Though most of them have since been released from the hospital, one student remained hospitalized in serious condition as of Monday afternoon.

That student, identified as 15-year-old Helen Richardson, had serious head injuries, but her mother told the CHP that doctors are confident she'll continue to see progress as her condition improves.

"This was not an accident," Meyer said Monday during a press conference at the CHP's Beaumont headquarters. "It's a traffic collision and traffic collisions are avoidable, and we do believe there is negligence as far as [Carrillo’s] driving that contributed to this incident, so factors are included in the criminal report that will be sent to the district attorney's office."

Meyer said that there are two main things that have led to a criminal investigation: Carrillo was speeding—weaving in and out of traffic in front of the school—and, he ran a red light at the crosswalk.

"Carrillo has previously reported to some that his brakes had failed," Meyer said. "He gave that statement to us and our investigating officers. We impounded the vehicle and performed a full mechanical inspection on that vehicle. We've determined, [through] the inspection of the truck, the mechanical condition was not a contributing factor in the collision."

Meyer said that, based on witness statements and school surveillance footage, Carrillo was driving faster than 50 mph in the school zone of 25 mph when he blew through the red light at the crosswalk where the crash happened.

"Our investigators are in communication with the Riverside District Attorney's office in regards to the filing of criminal charges," he added. "While those specific charges have not been chosen yet, they are serious."

CHP has impounded the truck and it's being held for another two weeks so the district attorney's office can look it over as evidence in this case, Meyer said.

Charges are expected to be filed by the end of the month.

Carrillo has not been taken into police custody yet, but Meyer said an arrest is imminent, once the charges are determined.

As for Carrillo’s claim that the brakes failed on his truck, Meyer said he’s sticking to that story.

“He has been cooperative [with investigators] but he’s a teenager, so we are taking that into account,” Meyer said of Carrillo’s cooperation with investigators in this crash. "He hasn't been 100-percent truthful.”

Neither alcohol nor drugs are believed to have played a role in the crash.  Carrillo had two passengers in the truck at the time of the collision, his twin brother and a 16-year-old friend. Those passengers are "not totally" being cooperative with investigators.

The accident happened right before summer break from school—it was the last day of class for seniors, and lower classmen had two more days. No seniors were hit.

—Renee Schiavone is the editor of Banning-Beaumont Patch.

Brenda June 05, 2012 at 05:53 AM
Another 19 year old smashes up some more teenagers, but at least no one died in this one. Then to try and say the brakes didnt work? Does anyone realize that we have camera's EVERYWHERE, do NOT LIE, YOU will get caught, and then its worse. By wreckless driving, speeding you are damn lucky no one was killed. However, I feel the same sentence should apply because you decided to speed, go through the light, and drive wrecklessly. Premeditated, and that is how we need to treat these teenagers injuring or killing others. Thank God no one was killed, it truly is a miracle.
Genie June 05, 2012 at 02:49 PM
I feel for the victims & a pray for a speedy recovery for Helen. Since the driver was newly licensed why would he have minors in the vehicle? Sounds like another violation perhaps.
Maxx June 05, 2012 at 08:38 PM
He was show boating, and screwed up. Plain and simple. Remember when we all thought we where so cool when we got our license, just he took it to the next level. Poor Choice.
Mr. Logical June 06, 2012 at 02:52 AM
Plenty of neighbors posted on the Press Enterprise story that they had seen this kid driving crazy through their streets before this happened. Witnesses said he was "revving his engine faster as he ran the kids over". Maybe he thought they would clear out of his way??? He definately wasn't thinking about anyone else other than himself. One of the girls is still in the hospital in critical condition. He's only 18 but committed a horrible crime. There's no excuses that can make up for him running over 8 kids. I hope they will all fully recover from this attack. It's not an accident when someone intentionally runs people over.
Brenda June 06, 2012 at 08:23 AM
He got lucky, he plowed into a group of 30 and 8 were injured, the one seriously. The one seriously is a brain injury and that might of course lead to long term serious issues for the poor girl. I had read that also Logi' that he had been driving around rev'ing his engine, screeching a bit, then rev'ing. My caretakers daughter goes there, well she is a graduate this year, but she said he had been doing it around the school that afternoon for a while, showing off and kids, adults were yelling at him to stop but he didnt, and a few just got flipped off. Not sure how true the stories are hearing them like 4 or 5th person but sounds about right. I just thank god and I am sure all the parents over there are that their child is ok. Its really a miracle and the driver will get what could be the difference between a felony and a misdeamenor wreckless driving.
Mr. Logical June 07, 2012 at 12:41 AM
Just read an informative article by Kevin Pearson in the Press Enterprise with an interview of the girl's (Helen Richardson) mother. Here is a quote from the story; Helen, who recently completed her freshman year at Hemet High School, suffered a severe brain injury when she was hit by a pickup in a crosswalk in front of campus May 30. The most critically injured of eight students, Helen has spent most of the past eight days in a coma at Riverside County Regional Medical Center in Moreno Valley." He goes on to say that she may or may not wake up from this comatose state. We can all pray that she does. How tragic. How sad. The selfish, arrogant and horrible act of one person, the driver, has given her and her family such heartache and pain. May God do a miracle and heal her.
Brenda June 09, 2012 at 12:44 AM
Sounds right Log. Don't think I have known anyone with a head injury who did not suffer some kind of permanent damage. Especially intubated and put in the coma right off and at last notice she was still in that state. Can only keep hoping for the best. The things I would like for restitution would involve a lifetime of work, by him, for every single family member who had someone injured. This is just to start with gardening, house repairs, whatever they needed. Then to go on to talk about teenage irresponsible and wreckless driving. How ignorant it is to have just turned 18 to be able to get his license (probably could not get it at 16 due to not meeting requirements, I betcha)19 days before then showing off, hitting a crowd and getting his license taken away. Probably at least till he is 25 and that is only if he can afford all the fines for this tragedy, and then his SR-22 license for being a bad driver, the insurance will be a huge amount after this. No one else better to talk to new drivers then Ex Mr. Cool Racer to teach them the long chain reaction that happens when you decide to drive wrecklessly and showoff. With so many kids, adults, teachers witnessing his driving before the actual incident itself, this kid is going down in jail and it better be a long time for each count on each of the 8kids. Everyone sue'ing him, the owner of the truck, his parents, his insurance company, all the victims might get a good chunk of change. God Bless you Kids.
Alejandra Moreno June 12, 2012 at 05:45 AM
He's still a kid & I personally think that the worse punishment is his conscious and knowing that he did wrong and has to live with that forever. Punishing him isn't going to make things better or make him pay for what he did. It was an accedent and I'm most positive that he regrets what he did and is truly sorry. Just think about it like this what if he was your son? He is only a kid still weather he's 18 or not. This should be discussed with the school to I mean they were notified about the reckless drivers but yet the police officer that is supposedly suppose to be watching out for us students should be doing their job instead of sitting in the office enjoying the ac. I strongly believe the school and police officers should have done what they had to do and this would have be privented.
Brenda June 12, 2012 at 07:44 PM
I agree. You NEVER see the campus police officer out rounding up all the kids that are ditching across the street from school. Chaparrel for instance, Rite Aid (who admits they have a horrible problem with kids ditching school and hanging out there), Jack in the Box and the Gas station, Wings place, etc. I have called all these places and asked them how often do you see the police or the on campus police officer over there watching for the kids ditching one class or several, or staying out front drinking, smoking pot? NEVER was the reply. I called the security company for the Rite aid shopping center, they didnt return my call(the on site guard said he was not permitted to discuss the problems as it hurts business at the center). There is never an officer sitting in plain view, or the on campus officer out there at the street corner, NEVER, or maybe he is now that there has been this accident. But a bit late for that now. So, are the police responsible, either patrol officers or the onsite police officers, by lack of their presense, somewhat or completely responsible for this accident or intentional crash? I believe they are. Simple as that. By presense ALONE that accident most likely would NOT have happened, as they would have hopefully stopped him prior while he was showing off. Unless it was his intention all along to run into 30 people on purpose.
Alejandra Moreno June 12, 2012 at 08:54 PM
Yes it is some what the officers fault beacuse he should have be portiling and after the accedent happen it just so happens that three to four officers are surrounding the campus. Like seriously a day after your going to stand and protect kids from what? That damaged had already been done. No It wasn't his intention at all I know this kid feels horrible about what he's done and I know he didn't mean to hit them its just an accedent that happened and could have be prevented by the school & the so called officers that are suppose to keep an eye out for us teenagers. Even though we might be adults we still need supervision because they are many teens who like to show off around the school and no one does a thing about it. And I think it's so wrong. And I know he committed a crime but I honestly can fully put the blame on him cause in reality no one has the right to judge him and expect him to get punished just because he deserves it. I believe in justice but not to the full extent. I mean I just think about what he's going through and it's sad cause it could have happened to any body.
Jomama June 14, 2012 at 03:35 AM
Learn how to spell Alejandro-ski before you start your diatribe of nonsense.
Alejandra Moreno June 15, 2012 at 05:05 AM
Well maybe your to dumb to understand my justified opinion!!!!!
Alejandra Moreno June 15, 2012 at 05:07 AM
And it's ALEJANDRA!!!!! Get it right before anything!!!!!!!!
Peony June 19, 2012 at 03:43 AM
So glad to hear that Helen is recovering from the car accident and is improving. I have been praying for her and her family. She is beautiful.

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