California man accused of striking 3 children with vehicle

A California man is accused of driving his vehicle onto a sidewalk and striking three children who were walking to school, authorities said.

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Jason Carlos Guzman, 26, of Valencia, was charged with seven felony counts of premeditated attempted murder, seven felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon, three felony counts of hit and run with injury, and three felony counts of child abuse, according to a news release from the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. He has also been charged with one felony count of possession of a flammable liquid, one misdemeanor count of brandishing a deadly weapon, and one misdemeanor count of hit and run with property damage, the release stated.

Police said Guzman approached the front gate of Taft Elementary School at about 8 a.m. PDT and asked to use a bathroom, The Orange County Register reported. He was asked to leave the premises and school officials surrounded him, according to the newspaper.

Police said Guzman left the school parking lot in a Mazda Protege and accelerated onto a sidewalk, causing him to crash into several children who were walking to school, KTLA-TV reported.

Three girls, ages 6, 9 and 11, “flew into the air” after being hit by the vehicle, the district attorney’s office said in its news release. Guzman is also accused of hitting an SUV occupied by a woman and her 11-year-old daughter as he fled the scene, the release stated.

Another woman tried to confront Guzman but fled when he allegedly brandished a knife, prosecutors said.

Guzman was later found by police with an apparent self-inflicted stab wound to his abdomen, KTLA reported. He remains hospitalized, officials said.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department bomb squad later discovered several containers of flammable liquid in Guzman’s car, the district attorney’s office said.

“The actions of a single individual have resulted in undue trauma to the victims he hit as well as countless children, parents, and school staff,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a statement. “These children were innocently walking to school on the sidewalk with their grandparents and but for the grace of God, this incident did not result in a child being seriously injured or killed.”