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Santa Rosa man using a wheelchair struck and dragged by truck

A man using a wheelchair was seriously injured Tuesday morning after being struck by a truck in a southwest Santa Rosa crosswalk and dragged 60 feet before a bystander waved down the driver to stop, police said.

Juventino Abarca, 68, was in his motorized wheelchair in the crosswalk, heading east on Dutton Avenue at Sebastopol Road at about 6:30 a.m. when a man driving a GMC truck east on Sebastopol Road turned left on Dutton and struck Abarca, according to Santa Rosa police.

The truck driver, Edwin Valle-Morales, 29, of Santa Rosa had a green light but a flashing yellow arrow when he made the turn, said Sgt. Christopher Mahurin, a department spokesman.

Valle-Morales kept driving for about 60 feet at about 20 mph, unknowingly dragging Abarca until a witness waved him down, the police department said in Facebook post.

Abarca suffered a broken left arm, a cut to his head and lacerations of his liver and chest, as well as abdominal pain, said Sgt. Tim Barrett. He was taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, where his status was not immediately available.

Valle-Morales told officers that from his vantage point in the driver’s seat of the hauling truck he didn’t see the man in the crosswalk until the witness flagged him down.

There were no preliminary signs the driver was impaired, Barrett said. Sgt. Mahurin was unsure if a chemical test was given but he said patrol officers were sure he was not impaired based on the sobriety field test they administered.

Valle-Morales is at fault but there will be no criminal charges “because it wasn’t intentional and it wasn’t gross neglect.” Mahurin said. “It was merely an accident that caused no life-threatening injury.”

You can reach Staff Writer Alana Minkler at 707-521-5224 or alana.minkler@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @alana_minkler.

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