Child killed when truck hits pedestrians in Lake Worth



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Posted on August 4, 2012 at 5:06 PM

Updated Sunday, Aug 5 at 4:29 PM

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LAKE WORTH — A speeding pickup truck crashed into a crowd of people at a busy shopping area in Lake Worth on Saturday afternoon. A child was killed and an adult was in critical condition.

"He was coming fast," said one witness who watched the horror unfold in a sunny parking lot in front of the Target store in the 6300 block of Lake Worth Boulevard around 1:40 p.m.

Six people — including four children — were hit by the truck before it slammed into another vehicle in a handicapped parking space.

"There were two girls on the ground, families screaming and trying to help them," said Paul Ruhl. The pickup truck landed on his car in the parking lot.

"He was coming too fast; he ran over all four of them," said Maria Rodriguez. "He kept going."

Rodriguez tried helping two of the young girls who were hit. "The other girl, we couldn't move her because she was bleeding. She lost a lot of blood," she said.

A seven-year-old was later pronounced dead. The other three children suffered serious injuries but are expected to survive.

One adult who was hit was in critical condition at an area hospital. The other adult hurt in the crash had minor injuries.

Witnesses said the 70-year-old driver of the pickup truck — identified by family members as Vincente Martinez — appeared to be dazed but was not seriously hurt. He was taken into custody by police.

The driver's daughter, Ester Zenteno, arrived at the scene and said her father has diabetes and may have had a medical condition at the time of the crash.

"He doesn't usually drive that fast," Zenteno said. "That's the only thing I can assume, because I'm not a doctor. I can't say that's what really happened."

"I would give anything if it had been my father that had gotten hurt instead of other people who are innocent... innocent bystanders," Zenteno added.

Investigators remained at the scene more than four hours later trying to determine exactly what happened.