8-year-old boy dies after being hit by car near elementary school; babysitter injured, SJPD says

Police said in a press conference the boy's babysitter was also hit.

Saturday, September 17, 2022
8-year-old boy dies after being hit by car near SJ elementary school
A boy who was hit by a car on near an elementary school has succumbed to his injuries, San Jose police say. A woman, his babysitter, was also hit.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Family members are identifying the 8-year-old boy who was hit by a car and killed on Friday while walking to school in San Jose.

Relatives confirm Jacob Villanueva was with his babysitter at the time of the crash. Both were taken to the hospital. However, Jacob did not survive.

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By Friday evening, a growing memorial marked the site where the collision happened.

They were a block from campus when the two were hit in a crosswalk at Castlemont Avenue and Driftwood Drive.

"He's 8, she's 6," resident Arcadia Garcia said, as she stood at the memorial with her daughter. "It could've happened to her. That could've been my daughter."

Garcia didn't know the boy. However, she knows the crosswalk.

"Cars are never careful," she told ABC7 News. "They just drive and they don't care if you're walking by. They should really put a stop sign or something to slow the cars down, 'cause... innocent kids."

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An innocent kid remembered Friday evening, as the community gathered for a vigil at the crosswalk.

As many reflected silently, some shared memories of Jacob. Translated from Spanish, Marlen Funes recalled, "He was very friendly and the other little kids loved him."

SJPD said at about 8:03 a.m., a woman driving a black 2022 Mercedes went to take a left onto Driftwood Drive from Castlemont when she hit the pair.

PD said the driver stayed on scene and is cooperating with the investigation. Though it's unclear what led up to the crash.

A dark day, added to a sad and frustrating year, said Colin Heyne with the city's Department of Transportation (DOT).

As of Friday evening, Heyne said San Jose was at 50 traffic deaths this year alone.

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Jacob's passing marked the first juvenile death.

"Today illustrated really, the worst of what could happen if you are driving too fast. Or if you're driving distracted," he said. "These decisions have very serious ramifications."

Heyne said the site is not a place where DOT has a history of traffic safety incidents. However, he said the department is investigating the area- from paint, to trees, to signs- to see what should be done.

Parents visiting the growing memorial Friday, pleading for change so other families never have to face this loss or feel this pain.

" As a mom, I take my daughter to school. I'm hoping she's safe and see her when she comes back," Garcia added. "And this mom... she will never see her son back."

SJPD issued a release on Friday evening which said the female, Jacob's babysitter, sustained a broken leg and was stabilized.

"I'm a mom of a four-year-old son," said neighbor Bianca Orozco, "I feel for the mom and the family so it just very tragic thing, it's sad."

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Castlemont Elementary School released a statement writing:

"Tragic news this morning. One of our students was hit by a car a block away from Castlemont Schl. We are working with school admins & district Crisis Response Team to support witnesses & continue to hope & pray for the best possible outcome for the child."

Police say the speed limit in the neighborhood is 25 miles per hour and at this point in the investigation, the driver was driving between 25 to 30 miles an hour.

Still Orozco says the area gets hectic around the time classes are set to start at the nearby elementary school.

"There should be more speed bumps around schools," she said. "Maybe more cops, because people really don't care."

This is San Jose's 26th pedestrian fatality this year alone, but the Police Department's traffic unit which was once staffed with 40 officers, currently has 14.

RELATED: 2 dead after San Jose car crash involving 3 pedestrians, police say

"I do believe staffing is very much contributory to the increase in traffic accidents that we've seen in the collisions that we've seen," Aponte said.

Still, the department says all officers are focused on traffic safety between calls.

"Enforcement is our key tool to make sure that we can change the way people drive on the roadway," Aponte said, "And you better believe that's going to be happening today."

Aponte says the full investigation into what happened may take months to complete.

Right now, no arrests have been made but once that investigation is finished, it will be forwarded to the District Attorney.

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