Santa Ana Student Shares Hit-and-Run Aftermath Before Taft Elementary School: ‘My Whole Body Was Hurt’

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) – The family of three Taft Elementary School students who were met on their way to class last week are reliving the pain and anxiety they are currently grappling with.

“I don’t think we really had time to react,” said 11-year-old Sophia East.

Sophia went to school on Monday May 23 with her grandparents and four cousins.

Sophia’s right leg is now in a cast and on the mend after being beaten.

She and her two cousins ​​were injured in the hit and run.

“I realized very quickly that we were hit and on the ground,” she said. “My whole body was injured. I didn’t really know it was my knee, but I really hurt my legs and I was sleepy.”

Santa Ana Police said the driver, 26-year-old Jason Guzman, allegedly broke into the school and was escorted off campus.

They said Guzman allegedly fired directly at the students.

“After hitting her, he crashed into another car, drove about half a block, and stopped,” said Jesus De La Torre, the girls’ grandfather. “He got out through the passenger door with what I assumed was a blade or a knife.”

Sophia said she was scared.

“I didn’t know what else to do because I couldn’t get up,” she said. “I thought he was going to hurt us but people surrounded us and he got scared and I don’t know where else he went.”

De La Torre said he thought his grandchildren were dead.

“I picked up Victoria, the youngest, thinking, ‘This is where it ends,'” he said.

Victoria spent her seventh birthday on Friday recovering from fractured skull and pelvis.

Her mother, Daisy De La Torre, said it was hard to see her daughter in such pain.

“She’s a very strong girl inside, and I know it takes a lot for her to say, ‘Oh, it hurts,’ or ‘I’m scared,'” she said.

Family attorney Atticus Wegman said the physical wounds would soon heal but it would take time for them to fully recover from the mental and emotional anguish they had endured.

“It was a nightmare for the De La Torre family and it’s really hard to describe what they went through and then the aftermath,” Wegman said.

Sophia said she was scared of the incident.

“I’m kind of afraid to go now because I don’t know what’s going to happen,” she said.

What she does know, however, is that she and her family will get through this together.

“The family just makes everything better for me,” said Sophia.

Meanwhile, Guzman has been charged with seven counts of first degree attempted murder, seven counts of assault with a deadly weapon, three counts of hit-and-run with injury and three counts of child molestation.

He was also charged with a felony charge of possession of a flammable liquid, a misdemeanor charge of wielding a deadly weapon, and a misdemeanor charge of run over causing property damage.

Guzman is scheduled to be charged on Friday, June 10.

He faces a maximum sentence of 49 years to life in prison plus six years in state prison plus one year in Orange County jail if convicted on all charges.

Copyright © 2022 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved. Santa Ana Student Shares Hit-and-Run Aftermath Before Taft Elementary School: ‘My Whole Body Was Hurt’

Laura Coffey

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