SUV crashes into Northern California preschool, 14 children taken to hospitals

An SUV inside a hole in a building's side after crashing into it, with a police cruiser outside
Fourteen children were taken to hospitals after an SUV crashed into Great Adventure Christian Preschool on Thursday afternoon in Anderson, Calif., south of Redding, police said. Ten have been released, and two were airlifted to UC Davis Medical Center.
(Ryan Kanne)

Fourteen children were taken to hospitals after an SUV slammed into a preschool during school hours in Anderson, Calif., on Thursday afternoon, authorities said.

Anderson police received a call at 2:26 p.m. that a Suzuki Vitara had crashed into Great Adventures Christian Preschool in the town of 11,000 people roughly 10 miles south of Redding. Nineteen children and two adults were inside the building at the time.

Most of the 14 children treated at hospitals were taken there for precautionary reasons, Anderson police said.


Nine were taken to Mercy Medical Center in Redding, which offers a full-service trauma center, according to Dignity Health spokesperson Allison Hendrickson. By 7:30 p.m., seven of those children, who were stable throughout their stay, were released. The other two were airlifted to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento. Their conditions were unknown.

Investigators determined the big rig was unoccupied and parked on the shoulder of Interstate 5 when the SUV veered onto the side of the road and slammed into it, CHP said.

Three children were taken to St. Elizabeth Community Hospital in Red Bluff and later discharged, Hendrickson said.

Information on the final two children involved was not available.

“While we have traffic collisions frequently in Anderson since we’re near [Interstate 5], this was different than the usual incident,” Anderson Police Lt. Nathan Ramirez said. “There were no deaths, fortunately, and I’m surprised and grateful that there weren’t worse injuries.”

Officers established a mass casualty event and were aided by other agencies, including the California Highway Patrol, the Redding Police Department and the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office.

The driver of the vehicle is an Anderson resident who was evaluated by police drug experts shortly after the crash. She was found not to be impaired. The driver provided a statement to police and was released.

The car was towed from the preschool shortly before 5 p.m., Ramirez said.