Tracy City Councilman Dan Arriola escaped serious injury when he was hit by a car in downtown Stockton on Friday night.
Arriola was rushed to San Joaquin General Hospital after he was struck by a car while walking across Weber Avenue. After 14 hours in the hospital, three MRIs and other examinations by doctors, Arriola was released with scrapes and bruises.
“I still have a way to go, but I was definitely lucky,” Arriola said on Tuesday, still shaken up by the experience.
Arriola said he had just gotten off of work — he is a deputy district attorney for San Joaquin County — and completed an interview with a local television station. He planned to meet some friends before heading over to an open house at the San Joaquin Pride Center a couple of blocks away.
At about 6:45 p.m., he was at the intersection of Weber Avenue and California Street; saw the light change, signaling that as a pedestrian he had the right of way; and started across the street.
“I made it about one-third of the way through the crosswalk when I saw a vehicle out of the corner of my eye, and it was coming way too fast,” Arriola said.
The car struck him on his left side and threw him about 40 feet. Arriola knew that the friends he had planned to meet were nearby. They rushed over and immediately called 911 and an ambulance arrived quickly.
“One of the scariest parts was when I was lying face down in the roadway and my extremities started going numb,” he said, fearing that the impact had caused spinal cord or nerve damage.
The emergency crew immobilized his spine and rushed him to the hospital, where he underwent extensive testing to check for fractures, organ damage or spinal damage.
“Eventually, the trauma team and neurosurgeon determined that I was clear,” he said.
Arriola said that he gave a statement to Stockton police, and the young man driving the car stopped at the scene and also talked to the police.
Stockton Police Department spokesman Joe Silva said the driver was making a left turn from northbound California Street onto westbound Weber Avenue when he hit Arriola, who was in the crosswalk, crossing from the north side of Weber toward the south side of the street. Silva said that drugs or alcohol didn’t appear to be a factor, though the driver was cited for driving without insurance and having an expired registration.
Arriola said he heard that the driver said he had the sun in his eyes and didn’t see anyone in the crosswalk because of the glare, though Silva said the police report noted only that the cause of the collision was that the driver drove into the crosswalk when it was occupied by a pedestrian.
“I think the big takeaway is that it’s a miracle I came away with minimal injuries,” Arriola said. “People need to slow down. People need to make sure they’re paying attention when they’re driving.
“I just hope everyone stays safe out there.”