Phillies fan, 9, hurt in hit-and-run after game in Calif.

Ryan White, 9 (left), brother Kevin, 11, with Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. Family planned its vacation around Giants series.
Ryan White, 9 (left), brother Kevin, 11, with Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. Family planned its vacation around Giants series. (Family photograph)
Posted: August 06, 2011

The family of Ryan White, 9, planned its summer vacation to California around this week's four-game series between the Phillies and the San Francisco Giants. That's only natural, their neighbors in Bucks County say: The Whites are always wearing Phillies gear, and Ryan loves playing catch with his older brother in their front yard.

But minutes after the Whites left AT&T Park in the glow of the Phils' win Thursday, Ryan was injured by a hit-and-run driver blocks from the stadium. He was listed in critical condition Friday night at San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center.

Phillies and Giants players autographed memorabilia that was sent to the family at the hospital. Before Friday's game at AT&T Park, the scoreboard recognized Ryan and asked for fans' support.

Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins said the entire team signed a ball for Ryan.

"It's crazy," Rollins said, shaking his head. "Sad."

He also tweeted to his more than 41,000 followers a message of support: "Ryan White, a 9 yr old Phils fan from Yardley, PA, was struck in a hit & run accident last nite in SF. Our prayers are with u."

A few members of the Phillies traveling party expressed a desire to visit Ryan and his family in the hospital but were told they had requested privacy.

Edward J. White, a Lehigh County lawyer and a cousin of Ryan's father, confirmed that the Whites had asked for privacy and said they did not wish to comment at this time.

Ryan was walking just ahead of his family in a crosswalk when a pickup truck turned onto Mission Street and struck him, a 58-year-old California woman, and several cars before speeding away, police said.

Officers caught the driver, Andrew Vargas, 21, several hours later in Hayward, Calif., where he resides.

A friend in the vehicle, Raul Moreno of Mexico City, said in an interview Friday that he was texting on his cellphone when he "just felt the hit" of the crash.

"I didn't see it coming," Moreno said. "We both panicked. We didn't know what to do. We ran off."

The Whites were on a 10-to-12-day trip that included Yosemite National Park, Lake Tahoe, and Sacramento, said Josephine Driscoll, a neighbor on Lenape Lane in Lower Makefield's Yardley Meadows development.

Ken and Roseanne White and their boys, Ryan and Kevin, 11, were visiting Roseanne White's side of the family, but the trip was planned around Thursday's Phillies game, Driscoll said.

Looking at Roseanne White's Facebook page, Driscoll noted that May was a milestone for the family. Ryan celebrated his First Communion, and Kevin celebrated his Confirmation, both at St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church in Lower Makefield.

For the boys, the highlight of Kevin's confirmation was posing with Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., who lives in the area, Driscoll said.

When Edgewood Elementary School had a Career Day, "Ryan wanted to be a cruise ship director," said Driscoll.

Neighbor Lisa Kall said, "Ryan was always playing catch with his brother."

He helped shovel out her car last winter and has come over to play with Kall's 2-year-old daughter, Sian. "He's friendly and full of life," Kall said.

In San Francisco, Vargas was given a preliminary screening and found to have a blood-alcohol content over the legal definition of drunken driving of 0.08, Sgt. Michael Andraychak said. He was charged with felony hit and run, driving under the influence, and driving with an open container.

Vargas was being held in a psychiatric observation unit with bail set at $65,100, said Eileen Hirst, spokeswoman for the San Francisco Sheriff's Department Jail.

Vargas works in the admissions department of California State University, East Bay. He graduated from the university in June with a degree in political science, friend Jean Paul said, and was planning on attending graduate school.


Contact staff writer Bill Reed

at 215-801-2964, wreed@philly.com, and @breedbucks on Twitter.

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