PITTSBURG, Calif. (KTVU) - A two-year-old boy died in a horrific Pittsburg car crash Thursday afternoon with his mother at the wheel after she recklessly sped away from an earlier accident, according to police.
Authorities said she crashed and her son was ejected from her car.
It happened just past noon on Power Avenue near Case Drive.
"A life lost, a careless mom, driving reckless," witness Denise Griffin told KTVU. "I don't know what she was thinking."
Witnesses say they saw the silver Saturn speeding, then jump the curb and sidewalk before slamming into a wall and power pole.
What they saw after that will be hard to forget.
"When she hit the pole and the car was spinning out of control and the car was flipping over, the baby came out of one of the side windows," witness Antinette Watkins told KTVU. "It was surreal, like you couldn't believe what you saw."
The toddler died instantly.
Debris was strewn across a wide area. Police say the impact to the passenger side was forceful enough to tear the door off and that was likely when the toddler flew out of the vehicle.
There was a child seat in the car, but it appeared he wasn't strapped into it or not strapped in securely enough.
"I saw the child when I walked up to get her information. He was in the backseat," recalled Candace Williams, a driver who was hit by the same woman only minutes earlier.
Williams told KTVU she was traveling on Power Avenue when the woman pulled out and sideswiped her. It was a minor accident, but instead of pulling over, the woman sped away and the tragedy soon unfolded.
"When I got down here, the baby was ejected from the car, on the ground," said Williams. "Her arm was almost severed, hanging by a thread. It was very sad. "
The unidentified mother underwent surgery and was listed in critical but stable condition Thursday evening.
Police say she is 30 years old and from Pittsburg. She told first responders she does not have a driver's license.
It's unclear if she has ever had a license or if it was suspended. There were no obvious signs of intoxication, although toxicology will be done for drugs or alcohol.
"When the car finally stopped, she was screaming and it looked like her arm was detached from her body," described Watkins. She admitted to not having a lot of sympathy for the woman after she drove so recklessly in a neighborhood full of kids.
"You're not only jeopardizing yourself and your child but you're jeopardizing every child around you, and that makes me most angry," said Watkins.
The neighborhood is full of homes and apartments. Some residents say they've seen the driver speeding, weaving, and chasing other drivers in the past.
Griffin said she narrowly avoided getting hit by her last week.
"She was chasing a yellow sports car, and she took the corner and I hadn't stopped and pulled to the side, she would have hit me head on," described Griffin.
This time, a pole halted her ride and ended her little boy's life.
The driver faces possible charges including hit and run, reckless driving, child endangerment, all the way up to vehicular manslaughter.
The driver involved in the original fender bender is heartsick at the fatal outcome.
"It serves no purpose. It's unnecessary disaster," said Candace Williams sadly. "And it could have been avoided by just pulling over and giving your information."
Thursday night, a teddy bear and a few candles had been placed by neighbors at the foot of the light pole.