Man arrested after elementary school crash

Antioch police have arrested an Oakland man who told them he was the driver of a speeding SUV that struck and injured three people Tuesday morning outside Turner Elementary School.

Capt. Steve McConnell said the man, who is in his early 20s, exited the vehicle and fled the scene along with a fellow occupant, but returned after only running a block.

McConnell said the man displayed signs of intoxication and told police he had been drinking and that the other occupant had outstanding warrants for his arrest.

Police could not confirm, however, whether the man they arrested was actually driving the vehicle because McConnell believed the man’s claims were suspicious:

“One has an outstanding warrant and didn’t return, (and) the other gentleman did. He may be taking the fall for the other guy.”

McConnell said an eyewitness presented cell phone footage that may help police identify who was actually driving the car:

“If he had been drinking, that’s why he was driving the way he was.”

McConnell said the crash happened around 8:05 a.m. when the SUV sped eastbound on Delta Fair Boulevard trying to avoid a line of traffic. The vehicle turned right into the school and was going 60 mph in the 25 mph zone before crashing into a Toyota Camry.

McConnell said the SUV flipped on its side and landed in a driveway on the 4200 block of Delta Fair Boulevard and struck the three victims, one of whom was identified as crossing guard Dana Kenley of Oakley.

McConnell said Kenley, who was thrown into the air and pinned, was the most severely injured of the three.

Kenley’s 11-year-old son, a sixth grader at an Oakley middle school, was sitting in a lawn chair at the time of the accident and suffered minor injuries.

Police said the parent who was speaking to Kenley at the time of accident had just finished dropping off her child before she was struck and thrown into the air. Her family was notified of the accident and went to pick up her child from school.

Turner Elementary employee Loretta Messer, who witnessed the accident from a sidewalk, said she called 911 and told the dispatcher that she didn’t believe the victims were alive:

“They went flying with their legs up through the air. It was horrible – and I’m right there.”

Delta Fair Boulevard is closed from Belle Drive to Fairview Avenue and will remain closed until further notice.

Antioch Unified School District Superintendent Donald Gill said the Turner school schedule proceeded as normal and that counseling will be provided to the students:

“We couldn’t be more thankful that students were already in school when this happened.”