Carpinteria High Football Player Injured as Suspects Flee Accident Scene

Coaches, team and community rally behind Jonathan Esqueda

John Palminteri, KEYT NewsChannel 3 Senior Reporter, johnp1250@aol.com
POSTED: 07:43 PM PDT Oct 28, 2013    UPDATED: 07:53 PM PDT Oct 28, 2013 
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -

A Carpinteria High School football player is recovering from injuries after a collision with another vehicle Saturday night.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department says three people in the second vehicle ran from the scene as emergency crews pulled up.   Two were caught.  One person is still being sought.   It's unknown who the driver was.

Jonathan Esqueda was alone in his car, a Mazda sedan,  when the crash occurred at Linden Ave. and El Carro Lane.  The vehicle was hit in the side and airbags deployed.

Skid marks at the scene extend from the street to the sidewalk and loop in an arc back to the street.   A city utility box was bent back after it was apparently hit by the Mazda.

The second vehicle was Toyota Highlander, an SUV.   

It's unknown how the collision occurred. A six-member team from the Sheriff's department is investigating.

Head Football Coach Ben Hallock said he was called Sunday morning and, together with his coaches, went to Cottage Hospital to visit Esqueda and his family.  The 17-year old is a running back and outside linebacker for the Warrior football team.  In the Spring he also participates in Track and Field.

Hallock said Esqueda did not remember the crash but, "one of the first things he wanted to know was if he could go to football practice on Monday - which breaks your heart."

It was also viewed as a good sign by Hallock who says however, the injuries, including one to Esqueda's pelvis, will certainly keep him sidelined for the rest of the season. 

Hallock and other staff members have made themselves available for students who were upset at the news and asking what they could do to help.

Sheriff's spokesperson Kelly Hoover says the public's help is being sought to locate the third person who left the scene.

"The Sheriff's office would be very interested in potential witnesses and anyone who knows about this case.  Eventually we will find out who the driver is," said Hoover.

Esqueda was looking forward to this Friday nights Homecoming game, and he has been nominated for the honor of Mr. Warrior.

A sign in front of the campus sent well wishes to Esqueda for a speedy recovery.