Child injured in hit-and-run heads home


Ryan White was struck by a white pickup truck at the intersection of Mission and New Montgomery streets at about 10:30 p.m. on Aug. 4. Ryan was visiting from Philadelphia with his family and had just left a game at the ballpark between the San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies.

The driver of the pickup, Andrew Vargas, 21, allegedly also struck a woman, who suffered minor injuries, and two parked cars before fleeing, police and prosecutors said. He was stopped and arrested in Hayward, where he lives, about an hour later.

Ryan was taken to San Francisco General Hospital to be treated for a traumatic brain injury, fractures to his pelvis, left leg and ankle, and a laceration to his liver.

His condition was upgraded last week from critical to serious, and he had recovered enough by Monday to be taken back to Pennsylvania on a specially equipped medical plane, hospital spokeswoman Rachael Kagan said.

Kagan said Ryan is still improving but remains in serious condition and will be treated at a hospital in his home state.

Vargas, who remains in custody, said he did not know that he struck Ryan until being told when he was arrested, his defense attorney Randall Knox said outside of court today after a bail hearing in the case.

"He did not know he hit that kid ... but knew he hit the cab," Knox said.

At Vargas' arraignment last Thursday, prosecutor Omid Talai had argued for an increased bail amount out of concern for public safety.

Talai said that after the crash, Vargas fled and drove to his apartment in Hayward, then tried to flee again when he saw police waiting outside.

When he was eventually stopped and arrested, Vargas' blood-alcohol content was between .13 and .15, nearly twice the legal limit, Talai said.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Nancy Davis sided with prosecutors, increasing the bail from $65,000 to $465,000.

Talai said at this morning's hearing that prosecutors had a video from a taxi that was in the area of the crash and would share it with the defense.

Knox said he had not seen the video and did not know if it was from the same taxi that Vargas apparently knew he hit before fleeing. Knox had indicated at last week's arraignment that he would ask the judge to reduce the bail, but said today that he was withdrawing that motion.

Outside of court, Knox said he withdrew the motion because he did not have the grounds to get the bail reduced to what Vargas' family would be able to pay to get him out of jail.

Several family members and friends of Vargas attended today's hearing but did not speak to reporters.

He will return to court on Sept. 23 for a pre-hearing conference.

People wishing to donate money for medical bills and family expenses for Ryan can visit and contribute directly to him.

Checks can also be sent to Ryan White at P.O. Box 542, San Francisco, 94104.

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