Driver arrested after hitting 9-year-old boy

August 5, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A nine-year-old boy visiting from Philadelphia is in critical condition after being struck by a hit-and-run driver Thursday evening.

The boy and his parents were at the Giants-Phillies game just before the incident last evening. Police arrested the driver of the pick-up truck suspected of hitting the boy several hours later.

San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr visited the hospital where nine-year-old Ryan White is fighting for his life. The chief brought gifts for the child, who is still listed in critical condition.

"It's about families going to baseball," Suhr said of baseball during his visit. "They should be able to make it home okay."

White was seriously injured Thursday when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver. White and his family were in town from Philadelphia and had just left the Giants-Phillies game at AT&T park.

Police say the Toyota pick-up truck driven by 21-year-old Andrew Vargas struck the boy at Mission and New Montgomery as he walked across the street.

Police also said Vargas plowed into several cars as he fled the scene.

"A young patrol officer walked up right up (and) put out the license plate, and the next thing we know, he was in Oakland," Suhr said. "Next thing we know, they're asking for witnesses to come make an I.D. in Hayward."

The quick police work ended when officers from Hayward, armed with a description of the Toyota truck, spotted it with front-end damage. Vargas was arrested after he was given a field sobriety test.

"They gave him the (Preliminary Alcohol Screening)...and he was over the legal limit at that point," Lt. Troy Dangerfield with the San Francisco Police Department said.

Vargas is being held at the San Francisco County Jail on charges related to DUI and the hit-and-run and has been placed in a psychiatric unit.

There were two dozen witnesses to the hit-and-run, and police say one of the witnesses was able to provide police with the license plate number of Vargas' vehicle.

Doctors have been able to stabilize White's condition. A 58-year-old woman who suffered foot injuries in connection with the accident was treated and released from the hospital.


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