Major injuries reported after car strikes seventh-grade student in Merced, police say

A seventh grade Cruickshank Middle School student suffered major injuries Thursday morning on his way to school when he was struck by a car in Merced, police said.

Officers responded to the intersection of East Yosemite Avenue and Paulson Road at about 8:30 a.m., Merced Police Sgt. Dan Dabney said.

The 13-year-old male student on his bicycle was heading west on the south side of East Yosemite Avenue and crossing Paulson Road when a 2017 Toyota Tacoma, driven by 50-year-old Silvia Arteaga, traveling east on East Yosemite Avenue had a green light and took a right turn on Paulson, striking the boy, Dabney said.

The boy suffered major injuries and was flown to Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera, Dabney said. Arteaga was “distraught” and cooperated with authorities.

Neither drugs nor alcohol appeared to be factors in the collision, according to a news release.

“We always remind the kids to abide by the same rules as cars while riding their bicycles,” Dabney said, noting the boy was riding against traffic and wasn’t wearing a helmet.

The collision happened several blocks south of Cruickshank Middle School, where the student was headed at the time of the collision, according to a statement by the Merced City School District.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the student’s family and friends during this difficult time,” the statement reads, adding that counselors will be available to support the family, classmates and Cruickshank staff members.

Anyone with information on the collision is being urged to contact the police department at 209-385-4725. Anonymous text messages can be sent by texting to the number “TIP411,” or 847411, including the word “Comvip” as the text message keyword.

Vikaas Shanker is an award-winning reporter covering education, crime and courts for the Merced Sun-Star and Los Banos Enterprise. After growing up in Naperville, Illinois and graduating from the University of Kansas, he reported in several Chicago suburbs before moving to Merced County in 2016.