DANA POINT (CBSLA) — Five children were injured Wednesday afternoon when the van they were in crashed into a tree in Dana Point.
There were nine children in the van along with the driver.
Five of the children were “trauma” patients taken by ambulance to Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo. Four children refused treatment, along with the driver.
As of Wednesday night three of the children were released from the hospital. A hospital spokesperson said the two remaining kids in the hospital were in good and fair condition.
The crash happened about 3:20 p.m. at Dana Point Harbor Drive and Cove Road in Dana Point.
The children involved in the crash are aged 9-12, according to Orange County Fire Authority.
“One was bleeding from the mouth and she was just in tears,” said Hanea Sanchez, who was sitting on Baby Beach when she heard the crash. “The next thing I saw was all these kids screaming, jumping out of the van.”
The female driver said at the top of a steep hill she lost her brakes and she was coming down the hill going about 45 to 60 miles an hour, trying to fishtail since she couldn’t brake. She nearly hit another driver who was driving uphill.
That driver said she told him that she had to hit a tree or she would clip another car and that’s why she picked the smallest tree she could find.
Investigators confirmed that neither drugs or alcohol were a factor and that it could have been a mechanical failure on the van.
The driver of the car that nearly hit the van spoke with CBSLA’s Stacey Butler.
“All of a sudden I see this van coming at me and I had to swerve to get out of the way and it had a trail on the back and it was coming at me and I swerved and I thought this guy or this person does not have brakes and I’m like ‘oh my God this is not going to go well.’ Next thing I just saw it go off road,” said Mike Buckingham.
The driver of the van was running an after-school paddle board surfing program. She regularly picked the kids up and brought them out to paddle board. She says she had just picked up the kids at an Aliso Viejo school to take them to Baby Beach in Dana Point.
Witnesses say everyone was belted in.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)