Student driver charged after children hit

Tire tracks are seen at the scene of the accident in Ashburn. (WTOP/Nick Ianelli)

UPDATE – Wednesday – 3/27/2013, 11:15 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON – A teenager who authorities say mistakenly accelerated into a group of children while learning how to drive is charged with reckless driving.

The accident sent three children to the hospital. The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office issued a juvenile petition for the teenager Tuesday night, says spokesman Kraig Troxell.

The 7-year-old victim is still hospitalized and in stable condition. The two other children hurt in the accident were released the following day.

EARLIER – Friday – 3/15/2013, 10:19 a.m. ET

Nick Iannelli,

ASHBURN, Va. – Deep muddy tire marks are ingrained in the grass before disappearing into a wooded area at the end of a cul-de-sac.

This now-vacant scene in Ashburn was one of panic Thursday night.

A 15-year-old girl, taking a driving lesson with her father, jumped the curb and drove up on the sidewalk, striking the three girls on Morven Woods Court, authorities say.

“All the girls involved are small kids, so they were having their evening playing time,” says Kumar Baddala.

Baddala’s 8- and 10-year-old daughters were injured. After the accident, they were treated at the Lansdowne campus of Inova Hospital. They are now recovering at home.

“Any kid when they get hurt, it’s a painful thing. We are going through that right now,” Baddala says.

Meanwhile, a 7-year-old girl remains in Inova Fairfax Hospital in critical but stable condition.

“She’s a neighborhood girl so it’s a very tragic thing,” says Baddala, adding the community is rallying around the families affected.

The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating what happened.

Preliminary evidence indicates the teen mistakenly hit the gas pedal, the sheriff’s office says.

The sheriff’s office has not said whether the driver had a learner’s permit.

In Virginia, teens cannot get a permit until they are 15 1/2.

In Maryland, it’s 15 years, 9 months. In D.C., teens must be 16 to get a learner’s permit.

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