Every traffic death is tragic, but some hit a little harder than others.
Especially when it involves a child riding her bike.
According to multiple sources, a 13-year old girl was killed in a collision with a truck belonging to the Santa Ana Unified School District this morning.
The collision occurred between 7:45 and 7:50 am at the intersection of West Edinger Avenue and South Center Street in Santa Ana, as the victim, who has not been publicly identified, was riding her bike in the crosswalk.
She suffered major head and chest injuries, and died at the scene, despite the efforts of emergency personnel. The driver was reportedly extremely distraught and remained at the scene to cooperate with investigators.
A report from KTLA-5 says the victim was an eighth grader at Spurgeon Intermediate School, despite the presence of two other schools at that corner. No word on whether she may have been attending summer classes or participating in some other activity at either school.
The station also reports that the truck was making right turn from Center Street onto Edinger when he hit the girl on her bike.
Judging by photos from the scene, as well as a satellite view, it appears the truck was headed south on Center, attempting to turn west onto Edinger. Most likely, the driver was looking left towards oncoming traffic and did not see the girl ride off the sidewalk to his right and into the crosswalk; however there could be other possibilities, as well.
Her bike was still lodged under the truck after the driver stopped some distance from the intersection. Up to 100 people were gathered at the intersection following the crash, according to the Orange County Register, many crying as they sat on the curbs.
This is the 37th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 7th in Orange County; that compares with 11 in the county this time last year. It’s also the 2nd bicycling death in Santa Ana in the last two months; the other victim was also killed while riding in a crosswalk.
Update: KNBC-4 has identified the victim as Priscilla Vallejo. According to the station, she was not on her way to summer school, and would have entered 8th grade in the fall.
Friends described her as a jokester who was fun to be around.
Sadly, her mother arrived just after she was pronounced dead. No parent should ever have to see their child like that.
Update 2: The Orange County Register has corrected Vallejo’s age as 13, not 14, as originally reported; she would have turned 14 this Friday.
Update 3: Not surprisingly, the driver won’t be cited or charged in this collision; Santa Ana police say it’s just a tragedy. After all, no driver could be expected to actually look where he’s going before turning right, right?
My deepest prayers and sympathy for Priscilla Vallejo and all her loved ones.