DANVILLE — Two 15-year-old boys are recovering from serious injuries after they were run over by a newspaper delivery driver who did not see them sleeping in the street near their homes early Friday morning, police said.
The boys, identified by a family member of one as Kevin Blessum and Wesley Lakis, told police they were "stargazing" as they lay on a blanket on Ashland Court when they fell asleep, Danville police Sgt. Phillip Wisotsky said.
A delivery driver, working for both the Contra Costa Times and the San Francisco Chronicle, entered Ashland Court about 3:25 a.m. and drove over both boys.
Blessum suffered a bruised spleen, punctured lungs, some internal bleeding and third-degree burns on his back, according to police and his mother, Collette Blessum. Lakis suffered bruises and abrasions, police said.
Collette Blessum said Friday afternoon that her son's internal bleeding has stopped and doctors hope to transfer her son out of ICU.
The boys told police they were lying next to a parked car in front of a neighbor's house when they were run over.
The newspaper delivery driver, a 34-year-old woman, told police she entered Ashland Court from the opposite side of the street. She told police she didn't see the boys before she drove over them with her Nissan Sentra, Wisotsky said.
When she felt a bump, she stopped, pinning the boys between the car's axles. The woman said she rushed to a nearby house to call 9-1-1. Fire crews had to extricate the boys from underneath the car.
The woman declined to talk to the Times about the incident.
Hannah Rossiter, 18, who lives next door, said she came home about 3 a.m. and noticed the boys sleeping outside. Rossiter said it was out of the ordinary, but it was not the first time.
"Them and other kids have slept outside before," Rossiter said. "They did it last summer."
Another neighbor, Dominic Williams, 12, said he and a friend heard Blessum and Lakis outside skateboarding with other teens earlier Thursday night.
Renne Rogers, a friend of both families, said the boys often would bring out benches and skate for hours. She said the school year had just ended and the pair were probably just enjoying the summer night.
"They're boys who love the outdoors," Rogers said. "I would guess that it was not their intent to sleep out there."
Wisotsky said the incident is being classified as an accident.
"This is not a criminal case in a sense that there was no intent," Wisotsky said.
Both the driver and the boys, however, could be cited for violations of the vehicle code.
"It looks like there is shared responsibility," Wisotsky said. "Pedestrians need to stay on the sidewalk and cannot lay on the streets. Drivers need to be aware of these surroundings when they are driving. ... Further action will depend on who's most at fault."
Reach Jonathan Lockett at 925-945-4782 or firstname.lastname@example.org.