San Mateo: Car Hits 3 Special Needs Students, Woman

Three special needs high school students and a student teacher were struck by a car in San Mateo Wednesday morning, according to police.

The car, driven by a man in his 50s, was traveling west on West Hillsdale at about 10:30 a.m. before it veered north onto the sidewalk and struck the four pedestrians, San Mateo police Sgt. Rick Decker said. The road was temporarily closed in both directions.

Decker said three of the four pedestrians are special needs students at Hillsdale High School. The driver and all four pedestrians were transported to the hospital.

Two of the students and the student teacher, a woman in her 20s, suffered serious injuries, San Mateo Unified High School District spokeswoman Sheri Costa-Batis told NBC Bay Area. All are expected to survive.

Decker said police accompanied the driver to the hospital for questioning.

Costa-Batis said the special needs students were on their daily walk when they were hit.

Witness Herman Cabanas had just finished some yard work as the group of at least a dozen special needs students, accompanied by their teachers, approached and crossed the street. They had just reached the other side and were on the sidewalk when, Cabanas says, a black Acura going about 30 mph swerved off the road and plowed into the group.

“The lady hit the windshield,” Cabanas said.

The student teacher suffered head trauma and broken bones. The three injured students, all teenage boys, suffered cuts, abrasions and other injuries.

“I think initially we were just in shock,” Costa-Batis said. “We can’t believe that in such a peaceful neighborhood, that such an accident can happen.”

The crash remains under investigation, and police do not yet know what caused the man to veer onto the sidewalk, Decker said. The roadway was reopened as of about 12:30 p.m., and the vehicle was towed from the scene.

The school is working to keep the rest of the students and the victims' families updated on their status, Costa-Batis said. They are also providing counselors for students and staff.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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