A 20-year-old Riverside Army recruit remained hospitalized Monday night in critical condition after he was struck by a patrol car driven by a Rialto police officer on his way to a call.
The officer was responding to a call regarding a "suspicious" person in Rialto when he struck Anthony Camacho, was crossing the road near Cactus Avenue and Rosewood Street Sunday night. The patrol vehicle's lights and sirens were not activated, police said.
The type of call did not require activation of lights and sirens, police said.
Local news from across Southern California
The officer saw Michael Gonzalez, Camacho's brother-in-law, running across the street, but did not see Camacho, who was also crossing the street outside of the crosswalk, police said. The officer slowed his vehicle, but was unable to avoid the collision, police said.
"Obviously, the officer was distraught at the scene," said Capt. Randy De Anda.
A witness told NBC4 the former Rubidoux High School football player was thrown about 12 feet in the air.
Camacho is slated to head to Army boot camp in just a couple days, but that appears unlikely now that he is on life support at a Colton hospital.
The victim's family is blaming the officer, who they said was driving way too fast at the time of the collision.
"I walked a little bit ahead and he moved up a little forward at the right time and the cop just came and took him out," said Gonzalez.
Gonzalez said the officer was traveling much faster than the 45 mph speed limit.
"I really feel like that was a mistake that didn't need to happen at all," Gonzalez said.
Camacho's mother, Denise McGowen, also said she blames the officer.
"How can you sit there and watch all these tubes in your own kid because of somebody's ignorance and for it to be a cop," she said.
But Capt. De Anda said it does not appear the officer was speeding, and he noted that the men should not have crossed the street where they did, especially at night.
He also says the men may have been intoxicated and arguing with each other right before the crash.
"The officer is one of the officers who held the pedestrian in his arms and initiated the CPR," he said.
The CHP is now handling the investigation.
McGowen is asking people to pray for her son.
"I love him with all my heart. I would never change him for the world he's a good son."