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Baby Badly Injured in Crash Involving Suspected Drunk Driver : Accident: The infant boy was riding in a car with his family after a visit to Santa Claus at the Brea Mall when their car was struck by another leaving a bar.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A baby boy who had just visited Santa Claus at the Brea Mall was seriously injured Sunday night when the car carrying his parents, brother and two cousins collided with a vehicle driven by a suspected drunk driver, police said.

William Milton Crowther, 64, of La Habra, was arrested near the accident scene. He was booked on felony drunk-driving and hit and run charges, and held on $10,000 bail, police said.

Eight-month-old Brian Velasquez, who suffered a skull fracture, was listed in guarded condition at Friendly Hills Regional Medical Center in La Habra, a hospital spokeswoman said Monday.

His mother, Josephine Velasquez, 30, suffered a bruised heart and was hospitalized overnight at UCI Medical Center in Orange, police said. She was released Monday after doctors found no serious internal injuries.

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The mother of three said in an interview that she could not recall the accident and remembered only that they were approaching the freeway after buying hamburgers from a drive-through restaurant.

“The children had taken their pictures (with Santa) and we were all feeling so happy,” Velasquez said.

Her husband, Ramon Velasquez, 35, received minor head injuries, and their son, Alex, 6, suffered minor abrasions. Both were released from the hospital after a few hours, police said.

Josephine’s nieces--Cecil Ramirez, 6, and her sister, Isabel, 11--were uninjured, police said.

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“We were all bunched up,” said Isabel, who was sitting in the back seat with her sister and cousin. “I just heard (my aunt) scream and a loud crash. The (windshield) cracked and glass fell into the car.”

No one in the back seat was wearing seat belts, the young girl said.

The accident occurred on Imperial Highway near Walnut Street around 7:45 p.m., according to police.

Crowther was driving out of the parking lot of a neighborhood bar where he had been playing darts, police said.

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Crowther pulled his 1976 Buick station wagon out of the driveway and directly into the path of the Velasquez’s 1978 Toyota Corolla, police said.

Unable to stop in time, Ramon crashed into the tan station wagon.

Police said the station wagon left the scene, but officers later found it in the lot of a nearby convenience store.

Police found Crowther talking with a friend in front of an apartment building, officials said.

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“He was cooperative, returned to the scene and answered questions,” police spokeswoman Cindy Knapp said.

He will be arraigned Wednesday morning, police said.


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