Police: 3 killed after car hits crowd leaving California church event

Willie Grace | 12/18/2014, 4:33 p.m. | Updated on 12/18/2014, 4:33 p.m.
Witnesses told police that the driver ran a red light around 8 p.m. (11 p.m. ET) Wednesday and hit those ...
Authorities initially said that one person had died and up to 12 pedestrians were hit, including at least two children, according to Rappaport. Many of those struck had just left an event at St. James Catholic Church, which is right near where the incident occurred.

(CNN) -- Three people were killed after a driver plowed into a crowd of people -- many of whom had just left a church Christmas event -- in Southern California, authorities said.

Witnesses told police that the driver ran a red light around 8 p.m. (11 p.m. ET) Wednesday and hit those in a crosswalk on Pacific Coast Highway, then kept on going before "colliding head-on with a vehicle" going the other way, Redondo Beach police Lt. Joe Hoffman said.

At least one pedestrian struck "was moved up to where the head-on collision occurred," according to Hoffman.

About 12 ambulances rushed to find people lying in the street, suffering from injuries ranging from minor to critical, Division Chief Rob Rappaport of the Redondo Beach fire department said Thursday morning.

Authorities initially said that one person had died and up to 12 pedestrians were hit, including at least two children, according to Rappaport. Many of those struck had just left an event at St. James Catholic Church, which is right near where the incident occurred.

Lt. David Smith of the Los Angeles County coroner's department said later that three people had died, including 81-year-old Mary Wilson and 87-year-old Saeko Matsumara. The other victim's identity was not immediately released.

The driver of the vehicle in the hit-and-run accident was evaluated at a nearby hospital, then arrested for felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter, Hoffman said.

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