California Highway Patrol officers are searching for a man suspected of driving a stolen car that struck two young children walking with their grandmother in a Castro Valley neighborhood Monday morning, authorities said.
Two brothers, a 6-year-old and an 8-year-old, were walking on Meadowview Drive toward Marshall Street at about 8 a.m. when the younger boy stopped on the sidewalk. While he bent down to look at worms, a black sedan came up behind him, veered off the road and hit the child, CHP Officer Dan Jacowitz said.
The driver — identified Monday evening as 29-year-old Daniel Morris — kept going on the sidewalk after striking the boys, eventually crashing into a pole nearby. He got out of the car and ran into the neighborhood while the 6-year-old was pinned against the pole by the vehicle, Jacowitz said.
The 6-year-old was taken to the Children's Hospital Oakland with severe injuries. Hospital spokeswoman Melinda Krigel said he underwent surgery and was resting comfortably as of Monday evening. The 8-year-old also sustained minor injuries in the crash, CHP officers said.
"It's appalling how this person can leave a 6-year-old on the sidewalk, pinned against a pole, and just leave the scene of the crash," Livermore police officer Art Rosas said.
The crashed sedan, a black 2010 Ford Fusion, was stolen from a Livermore Ford dealership early Monday morning, along with four other vehicles, the dealership confirmed to NBC Bay Area.
Alameda County Sheriff's deputies contacted the owner of the car, who said it had been dropped off at the dealership on Sunday night, CHP officials said.
"They came in, and using some sort of pry tool, they managed to pry open a key drop box for the dealership," Rosas said.
Surveillance video captured what police describe as a sophisticated car theft crew, including Morris, at work.
"It looks like they definitely had a plan, knew what they were going to do and accomplished it," said Livermore Ford Service Manager Dominick Cuevas.
Marshall Elementary School Principal Jesse Woodward wrote a letter to parents, identifying the child as a student. Neighbors said, typically, there are more children walking to that school, but because of the rain, there were fewer children on the streets.
"A 6-year-old, young, full of life, walking to school and now some person just comes along and just takes so much away from him," Rosas said.
CHP officers said they thought at some point, Morris could have been hiding in a house near the accident site. The suspect has brown hair and blue eyes, weighs about 150 pounds and is 5'9" tall.
People with information about the suspect or who may have relevant surveillance video are asked to contact the CHP Castro Valley office at (510) 581-9028.
Bay City News contributed to this report.