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Toddler Hit-and-Run Victim Recovering a Year Later: ‘Prognosis Is Good’

Charles Hurst ultimately pleaded guilty in Fletcher Parkway crash, and gave up his driver’s license.

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.

Kevin George August 25, 2012 at 06:10 PM
Interesting slant on this article. I am not surprised me that there is no civil suit. There is no mention of the DA talking to the parents about their share of culpability. The child had to have walked hundreds of yards, crossing the frontage road, the brush between the frontage road and FP, and the two West bound lanes of FP before he was hit. How long would it take a two year old to walk that far?
F. Dunn August 28, 2012 at 05:05 PM
For once we agree, Kevin. I ache for this elderly gentleman every time I read an update on this story. I can't imagine how horrible it would be to live with this in the autumn of your life. And...though I certainly was not the best parent in the world...there was no way in hell that my toddler could have even made it out the front door. Sorry to be tardy on commenting. We were visiting said kid (now 25) in Northern Cal.
Kevin George August 28, 2012 at 06:39 PM
I feel the same about Mr. Hurst. Wrong place at the wrong time. The video has been pulled but I watched it in detail a dozen times when it was still up.I noticed that when he hits the kid a bunch of paper or clothing goes flying from a bag that the kid was apparently carrying. I think it would be easy to think he hit a box as he says. Who would suspect a toddler being in the middle of FP at 8pm? But don't get caught asking any uncomfortable questions. The parents are covered in a cloak of protective PC.

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