SANTA ANA, Calif. – A 26-year-old felon has been charged with seven felony counts of premeditated attempted murder in connection with driving his car onto a Santa Ana sidewalk and hitting several young children walking to elementary school with their grandparents Monday morning, including a 6-year-old girl who was hit the day before her 7th birthday.
The children did not suffer any serious injuries.
Jason Carlos Guzman, 26, of Valencia has been charged with seven felony counts of premeditated attempted murder, seven felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon, three felony counts of hit and run with injury, and three felony counts of child abuse. He has also been charged with one felony count of possession of a flammable liquid, one misdemeanor count of brandishing a deadly weapon, and one misdemeanor count of hit and run with property damage.
Guzman was convicted in 2017 for committing felony assault by using force that is likely to commit great bodily injury.
He faces a maximum sentence of 49 years to life plus six years in state prison plus one year in Orange County Jail if convicted on all counts.
On Monday, May 23, 2022, around 8 a.m. a man later identified as Jason Guzman told a staff member at Taft Elementary School on Keller Avenue in Santa Ana that he was going to use the bathroom at the school. She then tells him he needs to leave, which he does.
He is accused of crashing into a parking barrier in the school’s parking lot while leaving in a Red Mazda Protégé. Guzman is accused of then accelerating onto a sidewalk and crashing into a group of Taft Elementary School children walking to school on the sidewalk along Keller Avenue. Three of the children – an 11-year-old girl, a 9-yaer-old girl, and a 6 –year-old girl flew into the air after being hit by the vehicle.
While fleeing the accident, Guzman is accused of hitting an SUV occupied by a woman and her 11-year-old daughter.
Another mother who followed Guzman from the school and witnessed him hitting the children on the sidewalk got out to confront Guzman. Guzman is accused of brandishing a knife at her, but the woman runs back to her vehicle and is not hurt.
Police found Guzman bleeding from an apparent self-inflicted stab wound to his abdomen. He remains hospitalized. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department Bomb Squad later located several containers of flammable liquid in Guzman’s car.
“We are thankful for all law enforcement agencies who responded to ensure everyone at the campus remained safe,” said Santa Ana Unified School District Superintendent Jerry Almendarez. “Our School District is continuing this week to have crisis counselors at Taft Elementary to support the social and emotional needs of our students and staff following this traumatic event.”
“The actions of a single individual have resulted in undue trauma to the victims he hit as well as countless children, parents, and school staff,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “These children were innocently walking to school on the sidewalk with their grandparents and but for the grace of God, this incident did not result in a child being seriously injured or killed. Children are the most vulnerable victims, and I will do everything in my power to protect our children whether they are at school, at church, and at home.”
Senior Deputy District Attorney Ann Fawaz of the Special Prosecutions Unit is prosecuting this case.