2-year-old hit by alleged drunk driver in Santa Rosa recovers from fractured skull


SANTA ROSA (KRON) — Saphira Howerton is opening her eyes and making strides after an alleged drunk driver struck her with his car and took off. 

The little girl who just turned two has a fractured skull and bruising to her lungs and kidneys.

“I was in a panic right and I ran and rushed to the hospital as fast as I could,” Shane Howerton, Saphira’s father, said. “I was emotionally very distraught. I couldn’t really keep myself together.”

Howerton joined Saphira’s mother by her bedside since the accident happened Thursday afternoon. 

Howerton said Saphira was leaving the social security office with her great-grandmother when she ran onto Range Avenue in Santa Rosa.

He said the initial shock and fear wore off once the doctors at Children’s Hospital in Oakland told him Saphira did not have any internal bleeding or brain damage. 

“Those were things they were able to tell me pretty much right away and that was comforting,” he said. 

What’s not comforting for Howerton is that police say the 47-year-old hit and run driver, Hector Larios, was drunk at the time. 

If found guilty, this would be Larios’ fourth DUI conviction.

“I’m not exactly what you would say, angry anymore,” Howerton said. “I’m more wondering what he was doing driving — why you would be drinking after so many DUI’s. I mean you’ve had so many warnings at that point.”

Howerton said he is thankful for all of the support they’ve received from friends and family.

They’re now looking forward to this being all over.

“I think that this is definitely better than the aspect that we are dealing with things that can fully heal and hopefully have no lasting scars or anything like that for when she grows up in the future,” he said.

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