The suspect who ran a stop sign is in jail on several felony charges. Fresno police say Cameron Woods should have never been behind the wheel. Police say Woods did not have a valid license, and there was also a warrant for his arrest. Not only was he going more than 70 mph, investigators say the collision was even worse because the kids in the car he hit were not properly buckled in.
Police say Woods saw a traffic officer clock his high speed Friday afternoon before witnesses in the suspect's car told police he sped up and tried to get away. He ran a stop sign at California and Fruit before slamming into a Suburban filled with nine students on their way home from school. Police say many of the kids were ejected -- two have head trauma and another has several broken bones.
"There's a lot more to do. We have to a lot of research and develop that," said Andy Hall with the Fresno Police Department. "But obviously there's some questions that we have to answer on why these children weren't better seat belted, why they had more children in the vehicle than it's supposed to have, and issues like that."
The students all attend school at Anchor Academy in Southwest Fresno. School administrators said none of the nine elementary and junior high students involved in the crash were at school on Monday, but counselors were on campus if any of their classmates wanted to talk.
A school administrator said the students were being transported home by a third party who takes the students from their doorstep to and from school.
"We have an outside agency that provides transportation for us, and I cannot speak anymore aside from saying that there's an outside agency that we contract with that provides that service for us," said Mr. Frost with Anchor Academy.
Investigators are waiting until brain swelling goes down before they determine how lasting and life-changing these injuries will be. Even the officers who responded to the crash were shaken by the number of hurt children.
"This is one of those crashes that really hits the core," said Hall. "You have a lot of children that are severely injured when they arrive and it really bothers us as police officers when we get out there. And you know here we have a suspect that should've never been behind the wheel in the first place."
Woods has a long criminal past. He was locked up for several years after a 2009 Easter shooting at Victoria West Park in West Central Fresno. Police say he opened fire on a large crowd and intended to shoot a rival gang member, but instead grazed an innocent victim.
Even though Woods was only 16 at the time, police provided a photo because they said he was a serious threat. Apparently Woods wasn't too embarrassed by his previous arrest; he posted his mug shot from Action News on his Facebook.
Woods is facing several felony charges to add to his rap sheet, including reckless driving causing injury. But he still has two charges to settle from last year, which are resisting arrest and battery.