A 4-year-old boy walking with his mother and sisters to a park in West Santa Rosa was gravely injured Thursday when he was struck by a car that sped through a crosswalk and fled the scene.
Police soon arrested Marco Lopez Garcia, 22, after a member of the public spotted the Santa Rosa resident with a light blue vehicle matching witness descriptions of the suspect's vehicle.
The person then took down the license plate of a Volvo that picked up Garcia at Finley Park about a mile away, said Sgt. Rich Celli with the Santa Rosa Police Department, allowing police to arrest Lopez at a Sonoma Avenue residence where the Volvo was parked.
Boy Hit In Santa Rosa Crosswalk
"He's definitely a hero," Celli said, declining to give the identity of the man who spotted the car.
The injured child, whom police did not identify pending notification of other family members, was with his 6-year-old sister, his mother and his twin sister when they entered a marked crosswalk at the intersection of West Ninth Street at Rockwell Place around 6 p.m.
The crosswalk leads to Jacobs Park, then teeming with kids playing soccer.
One westbound vehicle stopped for the family, but a vehicle in the inside lane continued through the crosswalk, slamming into the boy at full speed, witnesses said.
"I thought he flew out of the window, out the car, he was so high in the air," said Brandii Eyler, who was just getting out of her vehicle to watch her child's soccer practice.
Eyler was left fighting tears after witnessing the collision. The boy, she said, was unresponsive, bleeding out his nose and vomiting. Police said the child had sustained life-threatening injuries and was flown to Children's Hospital in Oakland where he remained in grave condition.
Garcia, who is not a licensed driver, has at least one prior unlicensed driving arrest, Celli said.