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When the slopes surrounding the Mountain Communities are dusted with snow, visitors from Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and Bakersfield come to enjoy family fun. California Highway Patrol officers are on hand to keep traffic conditions safe. Here, officers check cars for chains and inform drivers about safe parking requirements on Mount Pinos, where all vehicles parked along the roadway must face downhill.[Hedlund Photo/The Mountain Enterprise]
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Here a CHP officer at the base of Mount Pinos explains safety requirements to snow visitors. On February 27 cars were parked close together, and a 5-year-old child ran onto the roadway into a CHP vehicle that was traveling about 15-20 miles per hour, witnesses said. [Hedlund Photo/The Mountain Enterprise]
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The lure to snowplay in the Los Padres National Forest near Frazier Park is obvious. Families find affordable fun sliding down hills and laughing in a carefree old-fashioned frolic. [Hedlund Photo/The Mountain Enterprise]
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But along with the obvious fun, there is parking congestion at the clustered spots where families access snowplay areas. Parents must monitor their excited children carefully as they dash out of their cars to hit the snow.
By Patric Hedlund
A Simi Valley family found their snow play holiday suddenly cut short Sunday, Feb. 27. The Carrion family and their friends were excited to be up in the mountains, newly covered in fluffy, white show. They pulled up to a parking space near McGill Campground. There were 7-8 people in the party, about four were children, witnesses said. As the adults unpacked the car, little Diego Carrion (who had just celebrated his fifth birthday) wriggled out of the car and darted out into the road, right into a California Highway Patrol cruiser.
According to the CHP report, Officer Caid of the Fort Tejon CHP office was driving eastbound about 15- 20 miles per hour patrolling the Mount Pinos recreational area’s snow play activity at about 2:09 p.m., when the child ran “directly into the path of Officer Caids’s patrol vehicle” from between two parked vehicles.
The report says witnesses told investigators that Caid took evasive action, “but was unable to avoid the child.”
The boy was taken by ambulance to the USFS Chuchupate Ranger Station in the Lockwood Valley area and airlifted to Kern Medical Center. A Bakersfield CHP Sergeant responded to Kern Medical Center to meet the helicopter, the report says, and the child’s parents were transported by CHP to the hospital. CHP’s major accident investigation team was called out to investigate the collision.
Diego was released from the hospital the same day with a broken femur (thigh bone) and bruises to his head.
This is part of the March 04, 2011 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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