Sheriff’s officials investigating crash into Saugus preschool

An ambulance crew fits a stretcher with a child's car seat after a building at La Petite Academy in Saugus sustained damage from a traffic collision. February 22, 2021. Bobby Block / The Signal.

Three toddlers airlifted from a park after a car drove into their school building in Saugus Monday have been released from the hospital, according to school officials Tuesday.

Lydia Cisaruk, Le Petite Academy’s director of communications, said the children were taken to the hospital for evaluation after a school family member’s vehicle accidentally struck the building and drove into a classroom. The school did not specify whether it was a parent or staff member, and school officials weren’t immediately available Tuesday morning for comment.  

While the driver of the vehicle, described as a “female adult,” was determined not to have been under the influence of any alcohol or substance at the time, she didn’t possess a valid driver’s license, according to Deputy Natalie Arriaga, Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station spokeswoman. 

The woman was cited for being an unlicensed driver, but no arrest was made following the incident, and the crash remains under investigation, Arriaga added.

Three children, all under the age of 5, and one staff member were in the classroom at the time, according to Cisaruk and SCV Sheriff’s Station Sgt. Adam Stoll.

A building at La Petite Academy in Saugus is damaged after a vehicle crashes through and sends multiple children to the hospital Monday afternoon. February 22, 2021. Bobby Block / The Signal.

After following safety protocols and evacuating staff and students, first responders assessed the children, and all were airlifted to a local hospital as a precautionary measure, Stoll added.

The school is expected to remain closed temporarily as officials further evaluate and address the damage. 

“We will be exploring options to further increase safety,” Cisaruk wrote in an email. “We’d like to thank the responders for their support. Nothing is more important to us than the safety and well-being of our children and staff.” 

Katie Delling had just picked up her son when she witnessed the woman crash her car into the very same classroom her son was just in.

“She pulled in and just went straight into the building,” Delling recalled. “Then she stopped, (and) she hit the brakes.” 

Multiple children are airlifted to a trauma center after an SUV crashes through the wall of the La Petite Academy in Saugus Monday afternoon. February 22, 2021. Bobby Block / The Signal.

Delling said she was shocked, but immediately called 911. 

“I did see her back out, and then she got out of the car and she did not say anything,” Delling added. “She grabbed her things out of the driver’s side, and she stood there at the front of her car — she didn’t go up to the school, or talk to anyone or anything.” 

Delling said the woman was later identified to her as a grandparent of a student at the school, though she didn’t know it at the time.

“As a parent, your first instinct is your children, and then the safety of the other babies,” she said. “It’s terrifying.” 

Delling said she doesn’t have the words to describe the incident, calling it a “flurry of emotions.” 

“It was a scary ordeal, but (the) police and fire got there pretty quickly, and all the kids are healthy and safe now and home,” she added.

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