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Young bike rider hit by pickup airlifted to Med Center
Victor Pothipinya, the driver of the pickup truck, answers questions from investigators at the accident scene on McKee Boulevard and Village Avenue on Monday. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO

LATHROP – The cause of the Monday morning accident resulting in a Mossdale Elementary School student being airlifted to the University of California, Davis Medical Center by a REACH helicopter is still under investigation.

But there was good news for the family of the young boy later in the day. A hospital official who was contacted around 3 p.m. said the patient had been discharged. She did not elaborate on the nature and extent of the student’s injuries saying, “I can’t give any more information except that he was discharged.”

Deputy Les Garcia, San Joaquin County Sheriff’s public information officer, said “investigation is continuing” as to what actually happened in the incident involving a pickup truck and a boy riding his bike to school. The accident happened about 8 a.m. on the intersection of McKee Boulevard and Village Avenue just a block south of River Islands Parkway.

The pickup was being driven by Victor Pothipinya who was taking his 8-year-old granddaughter and 11-year-old grandson to Mossdale School. He was on the southbound lane of McKee Boulevard and appeared to have just crossed Village Avenue when he hit the young bike rider. The front wheel of the boy’s bicycle was pinned under the right front tire of the pickup. The younger brother of the victim, who was also riding his bike to school, was not injured.

The boys’ grandfather, Ron McCoy, who arrived with his wife, Addie, at the scene a few minutes after the accident, said the brothers “don’t ride (ride their bike) all the time. For the most part, I take them to school.”

He said he and his wife are raising their grandchildren whom he identified as 11-year-old Michael Wallace Jr. and 7-year-old Allen Thomson.

He said the driver had “come up from behind” of the two boys while they were riding their bikes southbound on McKee Boulevard toward City Hall and then Mossdale School a block after that.

“It could have been worse,” the victim’s grandfather said. “But the guy couldn’t see him (his grandson) He (the driver) was in a hurry. If you’re going by 25 mph (the speed limit), you wouldn’t be hitting nothing hard. You’ve got time to brake,” Ron McCoy said.

He added, “You got to be alert,” when driving in the streets around McKee and Village because “there’s no bike lane; just a path.”

At one point while the injured child was being attended to by Manteca District Ambulance and Manteca-Lathrop Fire District emergency personnel, Addie McCoy, the injured boy’s grandmother hugged a crying Pothipinya, the driver of the pick-up. The grandmother actually started walk across the street where the driver was standing next to the injured boy, but a police officer signaled Addie McCoy, who was walking with a cane, that he was bringing over Pothipinya over to her.

Asked why she gave the driver a hug, Addie McCoy said, “Because I know he’s feeling bad; to say it’s all right. He didn’t see him (her grandson).”

She also ventured to say that the incident may end up being a “no-fault situation.”

Consoling the McCoys at the scene was Dr. Willie Anderson Jr., pastor of the Image Changers church of Lathrop. The pastor said he just dropped off his own children to school when he came upon the accident and later learned that he knew the family from church.

The injured boy was wheeled on a gurney by the emergency personnel at the scene to a vacant lot at Ore Claim Trail and Village Avenue where a REACH (originally an acronym for Redwood Empire Air Care Helicopter) medical air transport was waiting.