A felony DUI charge was filed Friday against an 83-year-old Palm Desert man who crashed his car into a fence at an elementary school last fall, sending debris flying that struck a 10-year-old boy who later had to have his leg amputated.
Malcolm Ross Paterson faces one count of DUI causing injury, along with a sentence-enhancing great bodily injury allegation, stemming from the crash
that occurred at 9:50 a.m. last Oct. 23 at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School on Rutledge Way in Palm Desert.
No court date has been set, according to court records.
Paterson was driving a Chevrolet Cruze south on Portola Avenue when he
allegedly failed to slow when approaching a red light at Magnesia Falls Drive and struck another vehicle, Riverside County sheriff's Sgt. Dave Adams said.
The Cruze then ``left the roadway, striking a traffic signal (and a) wrought-iron perimeter fence to the elementary school,'' Adams said.
Sherry Johnstone, assistant superintendent for personnel at the Desert
Sands Unified School District, said debris from the impact of the crash flew
onto the campus and struck the boy, a student at Lincoln Elementary.
Adrian Grajeda was airlifted to a hospital. News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 spoke with Adrian and his mother Brandy on May 2 when the boy received a prosthetic leg that allows him to run once again.
Other students were outside at the time, but no one else was hurt. Paterson stayed at the scene, according to the sheriff's department.
In April, Adrian's mother sued Paterson for negligence, alleging that he
knew or should have known that he was ``unfit and/or incompetent to operate the subject vehicle given he was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident.''