By: A Staff Writer
Police last week arrested a man on suspicion of striking and critically injuring a 13-year-old boy who was riding his skateboard Monday night. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the boy, a student at Santiago Middle School, was trying to cross an intersection on a marked crosswalk while riding a skateboard when 28-year-old Robert Quintanilla reportedly struck him and then took off.
Police widely publicized descriptions of the suspect vehicle among the media. And on Wednesday they arrested Quintanilla after getting several tips from the public and witnesses who happened to see the crash. The boy is reportedly in critical condition and has suffered brain injuries and is still on a ventilator. The Register article states that he was not wearing a helmet when he was riding his board.
What a tragedy for the boy’s family! According to the article, police officers have started a fund for the boy to help with medical costs because the family does not even have medical insurance. Of course, the man who is arrested and was allegedly heartless enough to drive away when a young boy was lying on the road, must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
The boy’s family will probably receive some money from the public, which will react to this tragic incident and make some contributions. It might help the family out for a few days. But in the days to come, it will completely stop coming in. What then? Who will pay their medical bills and who will make sure that the boy receives the compensation he so badly needs for his treatment and upkeep?
The boy’s parents or guardians, if they already haven’t done so, will benefit enormously by hiring a personal injury attorney, who will not only help conduct an independent investigation of the accident, but will also investigate the driver of the hit and run vehicle in this case and look into what type of liability insurance coverage he has. An experienced personal injury attorney will also look into what other factors caused the accident and who else bears liability for the boy’s injuries.
The other lesson parents and teenagers can take from this sad story is the importance of wearing safety gear. Please wear a helmet and other protective gear when you’re skateboarding or rollerblading. For more information about skateboarding safety, visit the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons‘ Web site, which offers comprehensive information and tips for skateboarders. For more information about traumatic brain injuries, visit the Brain Injury Association’s Web site.