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Extra safety precautions after girl fatally hit by SUV

May 15, 2013 6:00:44 PM PDT
A San Jose neighborhood is renewing its calls for safer streets after a car hit and killed 5-year-old Aileen Quiroz Tuesday while she was walking home from school with her sister and her aunt.

The accident happened on Bluefield Drive near Parkview Elementary. The area is a residential neighborhood and there is not a single speed bump in either direction. People in the area believe that is one of the reasons there has been a problem with speeders for such a long time. They also believe that may be the reason Aileen lost her life.

Parents and students crossing Bluefield Drive are taking steps that are cautious and weighing heavy on their hearts after Aileen, a student at nearby Parkview Elementary, was hit by a car and killed Tuesday afternoon.

"My brother, the father, he's... don't want to talk, to speak. It's shock," Aileen's aunt Juana Quiroz said Wednesday. She says her sister-in-law Maria was walking with Aileen and her 2-year-old niece when they were hit. "Aileen in the back and the other baby in the front, and they're walking when my sister see the car fast, and push them," she recalled.

Juana says the aunt was able to push the first child out of harm's way, but Maria and the 5-year-old could not get out of the way in time to escape the oncoming car. People who live in the area say drivers going too fast through the neighborhood are a problem they've had to live with for too long.

"She was crossing, like she said, right with the yellow sign to cross, which is only three homes away from the school, from the preschool, so what she did, she was doing the right thing," family friend Olga Rodriquez said.

Investigators say the driver of the SUV was going west on Bluefield Drive and did not brake in time to avoid hitting Aileen and Maria. According to police, the force of the impact sent the girl's body flying several feet, but the role speed may have played has not been determined.

While the aunt recovers from her injuries, a community is drawn closer together, united in both grief and demanding that something be done to make this dangerous street safer. Investigators say they do not believe drugs or alcohol were a factor. The 2-year old who was pushed out of the way by her aunt is at home recovering from her injuries.

Oak Grove School District Superintendent Jos? L. Manzo released a statement Wednesday saying, " First, let me begin by saying that, as a parent, my deepest condolences go to the family who just lost their child. When tragedies like this occur, our entire community suffers a tremendous loss."

"Having said that, as Superintendent, and on behalf of our Board of Trustees, I want to reassure parents and guardians whose children attend the Oak Grove School District that we have always placed the safety of our students as our top priority - a priority we have embodied through the policies and procedures we implement each and every day that ensure that our campuses and surrounding areas remain safe," the statement continued.

"My hope is that our Community will view this tragedy as a call to action. The safety of our children involves the involvement of our entire Community," he said.

City officials are encouraging residents who have traffic concerns to reach out and make a statement.


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