Teen runners struck by driver during training over weekend

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Two members of the South Temecula Track Club cross country program were transported to a local hospital with moderate injuries when an 18-year-old driver of a truck struck the two as they ran with a group of runners on a training run on Saturday, Oct. 17. 

According to a report by MileSplitCA’s Jeff Parenti, South Temecula Track Club/Great Oak Cross Country head coach Doug Soles confirmed that Great Oak sophomore Austin Elkins and middle schooler Jacob Brown were the boys struck by the vehicle. They were both transported to Inland Valley Medical Center with moderate injuries from the scene. 

According to a report issued by the California Highway Patrol on Monday, Oct. 19 the driver of the truck was traveling eastbound on De Portola Road, east of Avenida Felicita in Temecula. Just before 8 a.m., as the 18-year-old female driver of a 2016 Ford F-250 began to pass the runners at a speed of 45 miles per hour, the driver made an “unsafe turning movement” causing the truck to drift over to the roadway edge. 

The runners were then struck by the truck and knocked onto the dirt shoulder. 

Cal Fire Riverside County Fire Department and the CHP responded to the scene where the driver of the truck remained on the scene. 

The driver cooperated with the investigation and was not arrested. According to the CHP, the incident is still under investigation. 

“Jacob Brown just got released and is doing well,” Soles told Valley News Monday evening. “Austin Elkins is getting close but is a little more beat up. Both were very blessed to be in a big group with lots of cell phones and a bunch of senior boys that immediately got 911, coaches, and parents to the scene. So grateful they are healthy and improving.”

Elkins’ father, Jonathan, posted on his Instagram page Saturday that his son suffered a “fracture in the neck, fracture around his eye, fractured skull. Minor brain bleeding, broken nose, multiple broken bones in his arm.”

On Sunday, Elkins posted that his son’s spirits were “higher today,” and that he faced a long road to recovery. 

According to Parenti’s report in MileSplitCA, Soles said that Brown was treated at Inland Valley and moved to Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego with an injured arm that required surgery. 

Jeff Pack can be reached by email at jpack@reedermedia.com