A year ago Saturday, a toddler who wandered away from his family’s La Mesa apartment was struck by a VW Passat station wagon in a horrific hit-and-run accident videotaped at Fletcher Parkway and Trolley Court.
The boy suffered head and spinal injuries and was put into a medically induced coma at Rady Children’s Hospital.
Today, the 3-year-old is home after undergoing two surgeries—and “looks like he’s going to be OK.”
So says deputy district attorney Curtis Ross, who prosecuted the case and spoke with the child’s father recently.
“As of now, the prognosis is good,” Ross said in a phone interview Friday. “He might lead a normal life.”
And the man who struck the child just before 8 p.m. Aug. 25, 2011?
He will never legally drive again, and faces a possible civil suit from the family, according to Ross and court records.
On June 19, Charles Herman Hurst changed his plea to guilty, and will be on probation for three years for misdemeanor hit-and-run, Ross said.
Hurst, 73, of Wedgemere Road in El Cajon surrendered his driver’s license and agreed to a stipulation that any liability would be determined in a civil court.
“He can’t duck or avoid (a) civil suit, prosecutor Ross said. But if he violates probation, he could go to prison for up to a year.
But Hurst is not a defendant in a current lawsuit, according to online court records.
According to Ross, Hurst made no statement at sentencing and never apologized to the child’s family.
In fact, when police interviewed Hurst after tracking him down via an auto parts worker’s tip, “he claimed that he hit a box on Fletcher Parkway,” Ross said. “And that’s why he didn’t stop.”
Had he gone to trial, Ross said, he would have faced a three-year prison term for felony hit-and-run. But with no criminal record and being in fragile health, he could have gotten less, Ross said.
“I spoke with [the child’s] father a few weeks ago,” Ross said. The boy has undergone two separate surgeries—having some vertebrae fused together—and was wearing a protective “halo” device on his head for some months because of possible brain injuries.
The family is “keeping their fingers crossed,” Ross said.