People in Montclair were in mourning for the loss of an 11-year-old boy who was run over by a truck while walking to school.
Residents brought flowers and teddy bears to San Bernardino Street, placing them just a few feet away from the spot where the Vernon Middle School student was killed.
“He was a really nice student,” said friend Michael Gallegos. “If you were sad about something, he’d always be there to cheer you up.”
Montclair police say the boy had just gotten dropped off by his grandfather. He was in the crosswalk where there is a stop sign when a black truck struck him.
“I’m very sad because I’ve known him for a year and he’s on my soccer team so everybody on my soccer team is going to be sad,” Jorge Negrete said.
Investigators say the woman who was driving the truck stayed at the scene, and it doesn’t appear drugs or alcohol played a role.
“And whether the driver came to a complete stop or not, the investigation is still underway. It does appear the child was in the intersection lawfully,” said Lt. Brian Ventura, of the Montclair Police Department.
Witnesses immediately ran to the little boy.
“I screamed at my mom to come that someone was hurt,” Rayne Chavez said.
Chavez said she watched as the truck slowed down for the stop sign.
She said it didn’t appear to her to be a complete stop.
Parents said this is the second time a child has been hit by a vehicle near the school in the past three weeks.
They say this deadly crash shouldn’t have happened.
“People [are] always on the phone, driving like crazy,” parent Monica Cabrera said.
Others say the speed limit should be lowered as grieving parents and students search for answers.
Police say there are basic things everyone should do when they are driving through a school zone.
“Be cautious through school zones, be aware of your surroundings. Unfortunately this tragic accident took a life,” Ventura said.
Vernon Middle School released the following statement:
“It is with profound sadness that I share this communication to let you know that a 7th grade Vernon Middle School student passed away this morning after being struck by a vehicle at the intersection of San Bernardino Street and Vernon Avenue in Montclair. On behalf of the board of trustees and the entire OMSD community, our condolences and thoughts go out to the family and friends of our student.
As our school community processes this tragic news and copes with grief, the school district will offer counseling and bereavement support services to the student’s family, our students, and staff.
This is a somber reminder of the importance to review safety tips for crossing streets and practicing safe travel routes to school. This includes crossing streets at intersections, identified crosswalks, and walking in pairs or groups.
This is a difficult time for everyone, but I know our students and staff will lean on each other as they fondly remember their beloved classmate.
Please join me in extending our heartfelt sympathy to our student’s family.”
Source: NBC Los Angeles