Driver, 75, suspected of DUI visibly upset after striking father, 4-year-old in crosswalk

A Novato boy is improving after being hit in a crosswalk with his father.

The 4-year-old was initially airlifted with life-threatening injuries after the crash Wednesday evening.

It happened in the Ignacio area, as a family of four crossed Alameda Del Prado near Posada Del Sol.

Police say the driver was under the influence.

"I did what anyone would do, call 911 and start helping," said Patrick DeLoach, whose apartment looks out on the crosswalk.

He heard the 8:30 p.m. crash and looked out from his balcony.

"The mother was holding the son on the curb, so I ran to grab some blankets for them."

The parents, with their young son and daughter, had activated flashing safety lights before entering the crosswalk on the well-traveled street.

"Walking across the street, they had their groceries, they were just going home," said Lisa Butler, manager of the Hillcrest Apartments on Alameda Del Prado.

Butler describes a chaotic scene: food scattered everywhere, bloodied pavement, and the gravely-injured man and boy.   

"They actually call it vaulting, the child vaulted over the top of the vehicle and then came down off of the back of it," said Novato Police Lt. Sasha D’Amico.

The father was flung into the sedan's windshield and ended up 30 feet away.    

"I remember seeing the windshield completely smashed in, like a deer hit it," said Butler.

Police say the driver stopped and cooperated, and was arrested for being under the influence of alcohol and prescription drugs.

"Oh his head was down and he was crying, really upset, he was devastated," described Butler.

Driver Edward Cox, 75, lives nearby and police say he was driving home from a friend's house.

"There's nothing for me to say you know?" said Cox, at the door of his mobile home Friday evening.

He is out on bail, seemed visibly upset, and refused to talk about the crash for legal reasons.

"This could destroy his life as well as cause a lot of trauma to that family," said Cox's neighbor, Edward Collins. "If you have a DUI and you hurt people, that's a very serious situation."

Novato Police say the child is at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital in Oakland.

The father, 27, is being cared for at Marin Health in Greenbrae.

Both are in intensive care, but stable after surgery, and beginning a long road to recovery.

"I can only imagine the amount of pain and suffering that the family is going to have," said D'Amico. "Questions like how will we eat and pay our rent, and then regaining their health as well, a lot of challenges ahead of them." 

Those living near Alameda Del Prado say it is always dangerous because drivers use it instead of the 101 freeway, which runs alongside.

In darkness, it seems even more so and what happened in the crosswalk is hard to shake off.  

"The mom was hysterical, everyone was hysterical, screaming and pandemonium, " said DeLoach. "As a parent, you know it could be your kid, it could be you."