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The Times' criminal justice team looks behind the scenes and behind the headlines.

November 18, 2009 at 4:11 PM

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Bicyclist charged in accident that left child hospitalized

Posted by Jennifer Sullivan

A 32-year-old bicyclist accused of running over a 6-year-old boy near Pike Place Market on Friday, leaving the child hospitalized with serious facial injuries, was charged today with vehicular assault and hit and run.

Seattle police say that Rafael Araneta passed several cars and rode through a red light when he struck the child, who was in a crosswalk, court charging documents said. Araneta fell off his bike, but climbed back on and tried to ride away, police said. Witnesses chased after him and held him until police arrived, charging papers said.

The boy, his father and brother were crossing at the intersection of Pike Street and First Avenue around 6:40 p.m. when the boy was struck, charging documents said. The child was taken to Harborview Medical Center with a fractured jaw. His jaw had to be wired shut, court papers said.

Upon his arrest Araneta told police "he was scared ... and that he didn't know what to do," charging documents said. Police said that Araneta's bike didn't have brakes or a headlight, charging papers said.

Araneta later told police that he saw the red light and saw a man in the intersection, but thought he could make it safely through, charging papers said. Araneta will be arraigned on Dec. 2.

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