A Californian mother’s driving lesson ended in tragedy when she ran over four relatives while practising parallel parking.
Maria Dulce Carmona, 27, was learning to drive in Santa Ana when she lost control of the car.
Most seriously injured of the four was her 15-month-old son, who was rushed to hospital with multiple skull fractures.
“The kids were all screaming and yelling,” said neighbour Char Roberts, “It was heart wrenching.”
The extent of the injuries to her other victims – Carmona’s three-year-old son, a three-year-old niece and her 19-year-old sister – was not immediately clear.
Santa Ana police spokesman Sergeant Baltazar De La Riva said charges may be filed against Carmona, who witnesses said was learning to drive a 1991 Nissan 240 with someone sitting next to her in the front seat.
“She is unlicensed as far as we know,” De La Riva said. “It’s still too early to determine what charges will be filed.”
The accident happened in the middle of the afternoon outside the family home.
Carmona was preparing to practice parallel parking, De La Riva said, when “for unknown reasons she accelerated and ran over all four.”
Witnesses speculated that she may have accidentally stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake.
“I heard a crunch and a scream, turned around and the car was still moving,” Roberts told The Los Angeles Times. “It had gone up on the curb. When I realised the kids were still there, I called police. I was in absolute shock.”
Another neighbour, Alisha Gallardo, 11, said she saw the man sitting next to Carmona jump into the driver’s seat and back up the car.
“It really scared me,” she said. “I felt really sad for those little kids.”
The accident was similar to another one last year in California, when a woman accidentally jumped a curb in front of an Anaheim elementary school and killed two young girls.
Maria Martinez Juarez, 51, recently apologised to the girls’ families and pleaded guilty to two counts of vehicular manslaughter. She faces up to a year in jail when she is sentenced next month.