5-year-old struck and killed by truck

February 27, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
No one who was there Friday afternoon will ever forget what they saw -- a little boy hit by a truck. He was with a group of classmates and teachers, heading to an after school program.

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The Alameda County coroner's bureau has released the identity of the 5-year-old boy. He is Zachary Cruz, a kindergartner at LeConte Elementary School and son of a UC Berkeley graduate student.

The mid-sized truck hit the little boy in the road, east of Warring St. in Berkeley. The driver stopped and talked to police.

The incident happened at about 1:45 p.m. Friday afternoon. Cruz had ridden a bus to the area of Derby St. and Warring St., a regular occurrence for him and other students.

Supervisors were also on that bus for an afterschool program at the Clark Kerr Center, part of a UC Berkeley program.

The bus dropped off the boy and had pulled away when Cruz was hit by a passing truck.

"The driver of what could be described as 2.5-ton work-style truck... was traveling southbound on Warring St. negotiating eastbound, or left turn, from that intersection and struck the boy just right of the center of the intersection," said Berkeley Police Sgt. Mary Kusmiss. "He immediately stopped when he figured out what had happened and has been cooperative thus far."

It is unclear if Cruz was struck while he was actually in the crosswalk. That is what investigators are trying to determine.

A passerby did attempt to give Cruz CPR.

This is the second case of a young child being struck and killed in Berkeley in the last month. A 6-year-old was killed a few weeks ago in a different part of town.

The boy's father, a graduate student at UC Berkeley, came to the scene after he was called by a teacher, Kusmiss said. The father, who was accompanied by a police officer, then went to tell the mother about the accident, she said.

University officials and counseling staff responded to the crash to offer support and assistance.

"Our community is deeply saddened and shaken by this loss," UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau said in a statement. "The Berkeley community sends our thoughts and prayers to the parents, family members and others affected by this tragic incident."

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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