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Weaver Elementary student hit by SUV in Oakdale
Charges against driver unlikely
A 5-year-old Maplewood boy is currently in fair condition after being hit by a SUV in the parking lot at a party facility in Oakdale the evening of Nov. 15.
Oakdale Police say the boy, identified by family members as Weaver Elementary kindergartener Jakob Schafer, was chasing a bouncy ball in the parking lot of Pump it Up, located at 7045 6th St., when a "dark SUV" hit him around 7:30 p.m.
Jakob sustained an injury to the "right thigh area," according to a police report, which was later discovered to be a fractured pelvis and broken femur, which requires a plate. He is currently in fair condition and expected to recover at Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare in St. Paul.
Sean Allen Schafer, the boy's father who was nearby at the time of the accident, "heard a thump" but did not actually witness the collision. The sports utility vehicle drove away before witnesses were able to catch a license plate number.
The family was at the popular facility for a fundraiser through Weaver Elementary for an annual fifth-grade field trip to Deep Portage Learning Center, an environmental camp located in Hackensack, Minn. Just over 75 students, in attendance with their parents, had turned in waivers for participating in the fundraiser.
Three days after the incident, on Monday, Nov. 18, the driver of the vehicle came forward to talk to police. Oakdale Community Affairs Officer Michelle Stark says the motorist, an unidentified female, was likely motivated by a letter that was sent home to the parents of Weaver students.
"The vehicle that struck Jakob was a dark SUV and the Oakdale Police would like anyone with information to contact them," said the note signed by principal Pangjua Xiong. "The Weaver community is a close knit and caring place and we know that our students and families are concerned about Jakob and his family."
After talking with the motorist, Stark and police Capt. Jack Kettler have both told media outlets that the accident was likely just that—an accident. Given the size of the vehicle and darkness at the time of the collision, it's probable the driver did not know she had hit anything or anyone, which would not warrant a hit-and-run charge.
In fact, Stark told the Review, the case will most likely only be reviewed by city attorney Jim Thomson, and it is unlikely it will reach the Washington County Attorney's Office for further review.
"It probably won't even meet the criteria to be bumped up to the county attorney," Stark explained. "The reports [from Oakdale police] will contain the facts and evidence, but the attorney's office will make the final determination if they're going to move forward."
Shellie Rowe, Jakob's mother, has told the media she's happy the driver came forward and that it gives the family a sense of closure.
Johanna Holub can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-748-7822. Follow her on Twitter @jholubnews.