School Stunned After Girls Injured in Car Crash

Three teenagers remain hospitalized Thursday after a car ran into them as they walked back to school in NoHo from a nearby park

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Days before the end of school semester, a routine trip to the park resulted in near tragedy. One victim remained in critical condition on Thursday. Kim Baldonado reports from North Hollywood for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 5, 2014. (Published Thursday, Jun 5, 2014)

    Private security guards were at every corner and up and down the street surrounding Oakwood School in North Hollywood Thursday, one day after three of its students were struck by a car just steps from the private school.

    Parents at the school said the campus community is still stunned by the news that three girls ended up in the hospital, one in critical condition, while walking back to campus from a nearby PE class.

    Probe Begins in Noho Red Light Crash

    [LA] Probe Begins in Noho Red Light Crash
    A Oakwood Middle School student remains in critical condition while her two companions recover from their injuries after a Toyota Prius ran a red light and smashed into the three 8th graders. John Cádiz Klemack reports from North Hollywood for the NBC4 News at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, June 4, 2014. (Published Thursday, Jun 5, 2014)

    “It's been a shock. It really struck home and it's a very close community and they're very concerned. It's been difficult for everyone,” said Cameron Wood, a parent whose child attends Oakwood.

    At about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, the three girls were walking back from PE class at North Hollywood Park on Magnolia Boulevard, the same street where Oakwood School is located, but students must walk across two freeway off ramps to get there.

    According to the CHP, Vartan Vartanian, 48 said the brakes on his Prius failed, forcing him to run a red light at the bottom of the off ramp from the 170 Freeway, where he struck the three teenage girls in front of more than a dozen witnesses.

    “Everyone is very shaken up,” said Matthew Malach, another Oakwood parent.

    A crossing guard was added to the bottom of the off ramp Thursday.

    Fellow students took to Twitter on Thursday, one posting "My thoughts and prayers going out to Aria, Taylor and Emma, along with their families and to all the Oakwood students affected."

    Another tweeted "everyone please wear something blue today in honor of the girls injured yesterday #prayforeta."

    All three victims remain hospitalized, with one in critical condition.

    “She's still hooked up to life support, she is not breathing on her own,” said Leland Tang, a spokesman for CHP.

    The other two girls have broken bones and are expected to be released within a week.

    Tang said the driver of the Prius has been cooperating with investigators.

    “Mr. Vartanian is inconsolable, he's a complete wreck, as he said to us, he's got kids himself, he's just beside himself,” Tang said.

    The CHP said they still need a search warrant to examine the car because it was a Hertz rental. Investigators hope to check the car's airbag control module, which may reveal whether the car's brakes failed.

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