A Fresno (Calif.) boys basketball coach finds his career and day-to-day life in jeopardy after he was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving in connection with an accident that tragically killed a 7-year-old boy riding on his bike and seriously injured the boy's father and 18-month-old sister.
As reported by the Fresno Bee, Fresno NBC affiliate KSEE and a handful of other area outlets, Fresno (Calif.) Central High boys basketball coach Loren Lebeau struck 7-year-old boy Donovan Maldonado while Maldonado was out on a bike ride home from a football practice with his father and sister, who were riding just in front of him on a bike with a child seat. All three Maldonados were struck by Lebeau's car in the crosswalk just outside a trail on which they had been riding.
According to KSEE, Donovan Maldonado was dragged by Lebeau's car for more than 100 yards after impact, leaving the boy fighting for life. He later died at an area hospital where his father and sister remained in critical condition.
Lebeau initially fled the scene of the crash but quickly returned to hold himself accountable for the accident. The Fresno Bee reported that the coach was estimated to be traveling at approximately 45 miles-per-hour in a 40-mph zone, with the coach's lawyer claiming that his client has been devastated by the accident.
"He has dedicated his entire adult life to enriching the lives of children, then this happens," Fresno attorney Jeff Hammerschmidt told the Bee.
Meanwhile, the entire Fresno community reacted swiftly to rally around the Maldonado family. Friends and neighbors held a vigil for the injured father and daughter to help raise money to defray their medical costs. Members of youth sports leagues in the area spoke at Liberty Elementary, where Donovan had spent the past two academic years and was scheduled to begin the second grade at the end of August.
"That little boy was one of the smallest players out there but one of the hardest-working players," Jorge Montoya, whose son played football alongside Donovan Maldonado, told the Bee.