Hit-and-Run Driver Suspected of DUI After Striking 2 Children in South L.A.: LAPD

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Two young boys were taken to the hospital after a suspected drunken driver hit them in South Los Angeles Friday afternoon, officials said.

Officers responded around 3:10 p.m. after the pickup smashed into the front yard of a home at the corner of 48th Place and Ascot Avenue in Central-Alameda, said L.A. police Capt. Jon Pinto.

Video from the scene showed the pickup, a dark-colored Nissan, rammed through a fence surrounding the residence, plowing down a stop sign and several items in the front yard.

One of the children, a 2-year-old boy, wound up underneath the fence, his family said. Relatives said the other child involved is his 4-year-old brother.

Their older brother, 10-year-old Fernando Vargas, was also in the yard at the time. He told KTLA he saw the truck heading toward their yard.

"I grabbed Chicha, my third little brother, and got him in the house, but I couldn’t get my other two-year old brother," the boy said. "I couldn't grab him. He was stuck."

The truck's damage appeared to be isolated to the front-end, which was scraped and dented with flat tires.

The vehicle struck two juveniles, both of whom were transported to the L.A. County+USC Medical Center. They were still being evaluated Friday evening, but their injuries appeared to be minor, according to Pinto.

The driver had fled the scene, but was stopped by family members who pursued him. He was being held on suspicion of hit-and-run and intoxicated driving, officials said.

Police did not immediately identify the suspect, but Pinto said he was a man in his 40s. He was also taken to the hospital, where detectives interviewed him Friday evening.

Further investigation revealed the same pickup had earlier collided with another motorist a few blocks away, in the area of 48th Street and Hooper, Pinto said.

The other driver had been detained for questioning but was released.

Police had earlier said the incident appeared to be the result of road rage, but Detective Jose De Leon, who was at the scene, told KTLA that's not necessarily the case. Investigators believe one of the drivers may have tried to chase down the other to get their information after crashing.

Authorities are continuing to investigate what led up to both collisions. No further details were available.

KTLA's Matt Phillips and Brian Day contributed to this report.

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