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Prius Driver Claims His Brakes Failed When He Struck 3 Teenage Girls

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A driver struck three 14-year-old girls with his Prius on Wednesday afternoon in North Hollywood, leaving one of the girls on life support for severe head injuries.

The girls were walking back to the campus of Oakwood School from P.E. at a nearby park when the Prius exited the 170 freeway near Magnolia Boulevard. The driver said he lost control of the car when he hit the girls, and also struck at least two other vehicles before coming to a stop against the curb. The other two girls each suffered a broken arm and a dislocated hip.

Officer Leland Tang of the CHP told KTLA, "The collision was so intense that it caused the students to actually be launched into the intersection."

A witness described the scene: "Some other girls that were not hit by the vehicle, that had just cleared the crosswalk, they were screaming. Their screams were just terrifying."

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The 48-year-old driver was also hospitalized, but his injuries are not considered life-threatening.

Tang told City News Service that the driver claimed the brakes on his car had failed, a problem that Toyota Priuses have made the news for in past years.

The CHP is investigating the crash, and will look at the "black box" recording device in the car.

"We're not going to hang this on his word," Tang said. "We'll take the car apart and look at everything."