Isabelle Salgado was 17 last Sunday when she ran over a 13-year-old boy on a bike with her SUV in what police are calling a road rage incident. But she had the bad luck to turn 18 on Wednesday. Now the Sacramento, California, teenager will be tried as an adult.
Accounts of the incident given by the California Highway Patrol and the attorney for Isabelle Salgado differ widely. The only parts they agree on are that, first the boy or his seven-year-old brother — they were riding together — threw something that hit Salgado’s Mercedes SUV.
As soon as the object struck her car, Salgado turned around and went after the boys. The incident ended up on the front lawn of Sacramento resident Marlene Youell, with the SUV hitting a tree and the 13-year-old boy trapped underneath, “lucky to be alive,” according to CHP officer Chad Hertzell.
When the Mercedes hit the tree, its front axle broke — a lucky accident that likely saved the boy’s life, causing him to be trapped between two of the SUV’s wheels and not directly underneath one. When the boy was taken to UC Davis Medical Center, he had visible tire marks on his body in addition to minor cuts an bruises.
Salgado’s eight-year old sister was in the SUV as well, but neither of the pre-teens present during the incident were hurt.
From that point the accounts diverge. According to the CHP officer, Salgado appeared remorseless after running over the boy. Witnesses said she was overheard making a cell phone call telling someone on the other end that she ran over the boy on purpose.
One witness, Jackie Manno, said that Isabelle Salgado appeared unconcerned about the boy’s fate, telling her, “I’m fully aware of what I’ve done.”
“When we booked her she seemed very ambivalent, and when we told her were she was being booked on assault with a deadly weapon charges she was rather blasé,” said Hertzell. “It was rather disturbing actually.”
But Salgado’s lawyer, Todd Leras — a current candidate for Sacramento County District Attorney — says that the reports of Isabelle Salgado’s lack of concern are part of “an effort to smear her and try this case in the press.”
Leras says that Salgado went after the boys only to find out who they were and why they threw what was described as a water bottle at her car.
“This is a classic example of young boys being out unsupervised throwing things at cars,” the lawyer said.
But the boys told the CHP that they did not even realize the SUV was coming up beside them on the suburban street when they tossed what they said was an empty tea can into the road. The can made a surprisingly loud noise when it accidentally struck the SUV, they said.
No tea can was found.
CHP officers said that Salgado made a screeching turn around a corner and put her foot on the gas when she saw the boys ride on to the Youell front lawn, running over the 13-year-old.
Isabelle Salgado is due to appear in court next month on the assault with a deadly weapon charge.
Image: Jeff Youell