Driver, 86, hits sisters crossing street

Two girls were hit by this car and seriously injured in Oregon City, June 20, 2013 (KOIN 6 News)
Two girls were hit by this car and seriously injured in Oregon City, June 20, 2013 (KOIN 6 News)

OREGON CITY, Ore. (KOIN) – Two girls were injured, one critically, after being struck by a car driven by an 86-year-old man in Oregon City shortly after noon Thursday.

And now the senior citizen who ran over the girls gives a heartfelt apology.

“I am real sorry it happened,” said Monte Theon.

The 86-year-old driver, from Milwaukie, Ore., talked to KOIN 6 News just hours after his car came to a stop near the intersection of 10th and Main streets in Oregon City.

Underneath was 6-year-old Willa Stewart, with life-threatening injuries.

“I turned around,” Theon said. “There was screaming, there were bodies flying around.”

Six-year-old Willa, her 10-year-old sister Hadley and their older sister were crossing the street when the two younger children were hit. Willa was dragged under the car in front of horrified onlookers.

“I just heard the screams, and then as I turned around I saw the car dragging the girl underneath the vehicle,” said witness Leighton Walsh. “And then it stopped, and kind of backed up again, as other people where telling it to stop.”

Hadley suffered a broken arm, and 6-year-old Willa was left fighting for her life. The older sister was not injured.

Thoen said he simply didn’t see the children in the road.

“I’m real sorry I did that,” he said. “I wasn’t paying attention I guess.”

Theon remained at the scene and cooperated with police. He was not hurt.

But from his Milwaukie home Thursday night, Monte Thoen played the tragic scenario in his head over and over.

“I’ve got some of my own grand kids,” he tells KOIN 6 News, his voice cracking. “I just hate to see the little guys, little people like that get hurt.”

So far no charges have been issued against Theon, but Oregon City police are continuing their investigation. Accident reconstructionists were called to the scene Thursday.

As of 5:54 p.m. Thursday, Willa had been upgraded to serious condition. Hadley was discharged from OHSU hospital later Thursday night.

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