The DA says the van driver who struck five children in a crosswalk in Northern California will not face charges

In Pollock Pines, California, a tragic incident occurred when a van driven by a 21-year-old man struck five elementary school-aged children who were within a crosswalk near Willow Street. The children were airlifted to hospitals following the incident. The driver, working for a Placerville appliance business and driving a company vehicle, was reported to be incredibly compliant with investigators and remained at the scene, even attempting to help the children.

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) is leading the investigation into the collision. They have ruled out intoxication as a factor, meaning they do not believe the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The investigation is still ongoing to determine whether the vehicle’s speed was a factor. No other vehicles were involved in the incident. The van has been seized as evidence, and the investigators are relying on two witness statements and video from a security camera to determine what led to the collision.

The CHP has found no evidence to indicate “gross negligence” was involved in the incident. Lt. Rick Hatfield, commander of the CHP Placerville office, mentioned that they are focusing on conducting a thorough investigation rather than rushing to a resolution. He emphasized the importance of a complete investigation over the urgency to bring the matter to a quick close.

Pollock Pines, located alongside Highway 50, is a common route for travelers between the Sacramento area and South Lake Tahoe and is frequented by campers. The town’s residents have raised concerns about road safety, particularly on Pony Express Trail, where the accident occurred. There have been complaints about drivers losing sight of other vehicles among the hills and tall trees, and a lack of consistent law enforcement presence on the roads to monitor speeders or other traffic violations.

In response to these concerns, El Dorado County has planned road improvements on Pony Express Trail from Sly Park Road to Sanders Drive since 2018. This includes moving the crosswalk near Willow Street, where the incident occurred. The county’s approach to determining speed limits, which involves using the 85th percentile speed, has also been discussed in light of the accident​

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