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6-year-old girl critically injured in Oxnard crash; street racing suspected

May 28, 2011 | 10:15 pm

Street racing is being investigated as the cause of an Oxnard crash that sent seven people to the hospital Friday night, including a 6-year-old in critical condition.

The accident occurred about 8:30 p.m. Friday when two cars, apparently racing each other, went through a stop sign at the intersection of Latigo and Maulhardt avenues, witnesses told police. One of the speeding vehicles, a red Mustang, smashed into a white SUV driven by Andrew Hernandez, according to a police report.

The five members of the Hernandez family -- husband, wife, two teenage boys and young girl -- were returning home from a dinner. Their SUV was hit so hard that it rolled several times, KTLA Channel 5 reported, based on interviews with family members and police.

The speeding car that was not involved in the accident fled the scene.

A photo from the Ventura County Star shows the SUV on its roof, straddling the sidewalk and lawn behind a stop sign. The Mustang sits in the street, its front end smashed in.

The 6-year-old girl had brain swelling and was unconscious for hours, KTLA reported. In the late afternoon, she woke and asked, “What happened to me?” 

That development was encouraging, but the girl is not out of danger, the station reported.

Every member of the Hernandez family needed treatment in the hospital, as did those in the Mustang.

Police identified the driver of the Mustang as Torrey Austin, 23, of Oxnard. He and his passenger, 23-year-old John Lobb of Oxnard, had broken bones.

Officers on duty Saturday night could not confirm whether an arrest had been made. “But we’ve got the guy identified,” Oxnard Police watch commander Tom Chronister said Saturday night.

-- Howard Blume