Witness describes horrific SJ pedestrian crash that killed baby girl, injured woman and child

Amanda del Castillo Image
Wednesday, July 19, 2023
Witness describes horrific SJ pedestrian crash that killed baby girl
The driver of an SUV crashed into three people overnight, killing a baby girl and sending a woman and another young girl to the hospital.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The driver of an SUV crashed into three people overnight, killing a baby girl and sending a woman and another young girl to the hospital.

It happened at the intersection of King Road and Ocala Avenue on the city's east side, before midnight on Wednesday.

San Jose Police said this marks the city's 26th fatal collision and the 27th traffic death of the year.

By the early morning rush, traffic returned to the busy intersection.

However, only hours earlier, Andres Izalde was witness to the deadly scene.

"It just gives me the chills, just thinking about it again," Izalde said as he held back tears. "Seeing the baby there, just laying face down. I was just terrified. I remember my little girl when she was that age."

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Izalde said he woke up after hearing a loud bang, followed by screaming. He ran outside of his home and found a woman, a baby and toddler only seconds after they were hit by a Chevy Tahoe. He described their bodies being thrown about, saying it the worst thing he's witnessed in his life.

"I just saw the lady laying down on the floor and my reaction was run to her - close to her to see if I could help with anything," he told ABC7 News. "And when I was running to her, I kind of looked more forward and there was a baby laying on the floor and a car seat. And I turned to my left and I see like a 5-year-old girl laying on the floor too."

A father of two young girls himself, Izalde says he and others in the area are very familiar with dark streets and dangerous drivers.

"The first thing I tell my girls is like, 'Get off the car and just run to the door,' to go inside the house. Because a lot of just crazy people drive around here," he continued. "I don't feel safe out here, but this is where we're at right now."

San Jose Police said the woman and two little girls were walking outside of a marked crosswalk, against a red light. The Chevy Tahoe is said to have had a solid green light as it went through the intersection, traveling southbound on King Rd.

SJPD says the driver of the SUV remained on scene and is cooperating with police.

As the investigation continues, SJPD said speeding has been the number one cause of deadly and severe injury crashes on San Jose streets.

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The city's Vision Zero Task Force is focused on eliminating traffic deaths and injuries. The tasl force has identified the intersection as part of a priority safety corridor that accounts for a high number of deaths and injuries.

"Ultimately, the amount of vehicles on the roadway doesn't necessarily dictate if there's going to be an accident or not," SJPD Officer Steven Aponte said. "It's if there's a violation of the rules of the road- if there's speeding, if there's inattentiveness, and that's what we're investigating."

"Ultimately, that won't bring back a dead child that has been lost in the roadways of San Jose," he continued.

Officer Aponte said the area was his beat when he was a patrol officer, and he's witnessed traffic fatalities that have occurred just at that intersection in the past.

"It's a major thoroughfare, it's a major arterial roadway for East San Jose," he described.

The city's Department of Transportation said in a statement:

"The Department of Transportation is saddened to hear about the pedestrian fatality that took place on King Road and Ocala Avenue on the night of July 18. Our hearts go out to the victim's family and loved ones. To make our streets safer for people who walk, roll, bike, and take public transit, the Department has over 200 traffic safety projects planned for 2023.

We have safety improvements planned for King Road, and are currently developing a King Road Complete Streets Plan. The project area stretches over six miles, from Berryessa Road to East Capitol Expressway, and the intersection of Ocala Avenue. The plan is aimed at making the project area safer for people who walk, roll, and bike. Some likely improvements include wider sidewalks, ADA-compliant crosswalks, bike lanes that are protected and separated from vehicles, and sheltered and ADA-compliant public transit stops."

The statement went on to read, "Safety is everyone's responsibility and we plead with San Joseans to do their part. Please remember to always drive safely - slow down, put your cell phone away, and keep your eyes on the road."

As the morning's scene continues to haunt witness Izalde, he can't help but hurt for the baby who was killed, and the young girl and woman sent to the hospital with injuries.

"If the mom's still unconscious, I just can't imagine her pain when she wakes up and finds out about the baby. Because they just took her unconscious. She was just really bad too," he added.

SJPD has not confirmed the relationship between the three victims.

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