NEW ORLEANS – Two children injured when a car slammed into a small Terrytown school are awake and responding, yet still in a lot of pain, according to Chris Price, a spokesman for Children’s Hospital.
Price said the two young victims, a boy in critical condition in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and a girl who is stable, suffered serious injuries.
The 10-year-old boy suffered a lacerated liver and bruises to both lungs. He also has two broken bones in his left leg. The 9-year-old girl suffered multiple spine fractures and intestinal bruising.
The incident occurred Wednesday morning at the Stepping Stones Montessori school.
The driver, authorities say, was 32-year-old Islam Hamed, another parent who was dropping her child off when she lost control.
"She says she pulled up, hit the parking stop, but apparently at some point, accelerated as opposed to braking, causing the vehicle to go into the building," said Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office Spokesman Col. John Fortunato.
An eyewitness, Angie Miserendino described what happened next.
"As it went through, the children started screaming, the teachers started screaming, and that's pretty much when just I got out, went inside, left my daughter right there," she said. "Everything was turned over. Bricks were everywhere. The bookshelf, or siding, was kind of everywhere. There were two children that were pinned under the vehicle with debris on top of them and then there were two children that were pinned up against the wall with tables and debris."
Authorities said six children -- ranging from 6 to 10 years old -- were injured and taken to nearby hospitals.
The four others were treated and released.
For Mark Deane, another parent, it was a close call.
This day, he and his son were running a few minutes late.
"You know, we were kind of arguing in the car, saying, 'Oh, you gotta ready earlier so we can get here on time.' And of course when we got here, there was a car in the school," Deane said.
For students, teachers, and some parents who were there, the crash led to frantic moments.
"To be expected, everybody was hysterical but everybody did, at least, remain calm enough to account for, you know, priorities. Everybody made sure children were OK. We just started doing everything we needed to do," Miserendino said.
Authorities cited Hamed, the driver, for negligent injury.