OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — Oakland Police announced Sunday they’ve made an arrest in a hit and run accident that severely injured a 14-year-old boy.
The accident happened January 2nd near the Fruitvale BART station. The teen was hit by a car as he was riding his bike and dragged for 4 blocks before the driver finally stopped.
Police arrested 36-year-old Leah Conner yesterday morning. Investigators say she was the one driving the car that hit 14-year-old Carlos Prieto. Prieto’s family said Carlos got the bicycle for Christmas and was riding it to a bike store near the BART station to buy new parts for it when the car hit him.
According to court documents, “he rolled onto the hood of her car, and then fell to the pavement.” Investigators said the driver kept going, dragging the boy under the car for four blocks before finally stopping.
In a cell phone video shot immediately after the accident, the female driver and a male passenger are seen getting out of the car and look at the teen writhing in pain on the ground. Prieto can be heard begging for someone to call an ambulance to help him. The two people in the video are then seen getting back into the car and driving away.
“To see him laying there, and to see the way his body looked, and then to hear his voice, I couldn’t believe it. I was devastated,” said Sandy Prieto, the boy’s grandmother.
Conner was arrested Saturday morning and is charged with assault with a deadly weapon, reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident. Court records also show she was on probation at the time of the crash for a DUI and for evading a police officer during an incident in Sonoma County on October 31, 2018.
“I can’t understand how she did it. From a mother’s point of view, I cannot stand how they left him laying there. I felt they left him there to die,” said Sandy Prieto.
Carlos, or “Lil Dad” as his family calls him, is still in critical condition at the hospital. He has 30 broken bones, extensive internal injuries, and road rash so severe he’s being treated as a burn patient and needs skin grafts.
His grandmother says he was dragged so long under the car, he barely has any healthy skin left on his body. She says doctors are being forced to use cadaver skin for the grafts.
“He has to go through so many surgeries. They were saying hundreds and hundreds of surgeries. He’s really badly injured,” said Sandy. The Prieto family held a fundraiser in Oakland on Sunday to help with medical bills.
Various bicycle clubs from the area organized a ride to show their support. Among the riders was Elias, Carlos’ little brother.
“I’m pretty happy because of all the support and all that, and how much support we’re getting, and how many people came for this,” Elias said.
The news of the arrest brought little comfort to the rest of the Prieto family. “They have no regard for human life, especially a young child. That’s heinous. I hope she gets what’s coming to her,” said Carlos’s grandfather, Carlos Prieto Sr.
Conner is scheduled to make her first court appearance on Tuesday. Oakland Police say they’ve also arrested the male passenger seen in the cell phone video. They are now waiting on charges from the Alameda County District Attorney’s office.
The family has set up a GoFundMe page for Carlos Prieto: https://www.gofundme.com/carlos-lil-dad-prieto-back-on-his-bike-fund