Driver accused of hitting kids near California school faces attempted murder charges

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A California man accused of hitting multiple children with his car now faces charges of attempted murder, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said in a May 25 news release.

On May 23, 26-year-old Jason Carlos Guzman was accused of trespassing at a Santa Ana elementary school before being escorted off campus and driving onto a sidewalk, hitting a group of elementary school-aged children, McClatchy News reported.

Three children were taken to a hospital in stable condition, officials said.

The Santa Ana Police Department also found “incendiary devices” inside his car, it said in a news release.

Guzman is 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,” the district attorney’s office said.

He is also charged with possession of a flammable liquid, brandishing a deadly weapon and hit and run with property damage, according to the district attorney’s office.

If convicted on all charges, Guzman will face a maximum sentence of 49 years to life in prison, as well as six years in state prison and one year in the Orange County Jail, the district attorney’s office said.

Guzman is accused of crashing into a parking barrier in the school’s parking lot before hitting the children on the sidewalk. Three children — ages 11, 9 and 6 — “flew into the air” after being struck, the district attorney’s office said.

”While fleeing the accident, Guzman is accused of hitting an SUV occupied by a woman and her 11-year-old daughter,” the district attorney’s office said.

A mother who officials say witnessed the children being hit got out of her car and approached Guzman, who is accused of brandishing a knife at her, the release said. Officers then found Guzman “bleeding from an apparent self-inflicted stab wound to his abdomen,” according to the district attorney’s office.

Guzman remains in a hospital, the release 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 the news release. “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 more seriously injured or killed.”

Santa Ana is about 32 miles southeast of Los Angeles.

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