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News Release

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Media Relations

3-Year-Old Boy Killed In Traffic Collision

Los Angeles: A three-year-old boy and his grandmother were struck by a tractor-trailer at Whittier Boulevard and Lorena Street in East Los Angeles this morning.  The boy died at the scene.

"This was a tragic accident for everyone involved," said Lieutenant Paul Vernon.  "The pedestrians were in the crosswalk and the vehicles were stopped for the red, flashing light.  Unfortunately, the truck driver's high profile kept him from seeing the pedestrians."

The accident stemmed from a chain of events that began a little after 8 AM today, February 22, 2006, when a different truck struck part of the traffic signal, breaking it and causing the signals to default to red, flashing lights.

Around 8:45 AM, the grandmother, Rosalinda Garcia, 53, stepped off the sidewalk into the crosswalk on the northwest corner of the intersection.  As she walked eastbound, a gray car waited for her to pass, then proceeded right from the number 2 lane.  A 48-foot tractor-trailer, driven by Fernando Rios, was also stopped in the number one lane. 

Not seeing the woman and the stroller, the truck driver pulled forward, striking the pair.  Other cars in the intersection saw what had happened and realized the truck driver was not aware he had hit anyone.  Two drivers overtook the truck for him to stop. 

The child died at the scene from head injuries and the grandmother was taken to USC Medical Center, where she is listed in serious condition.

Investigators found no equipment violations on the truck and the driver was not under the influence of any alcohol or narcotics.

"This is one of those tragic accidents that could befall any of us, whether as pedestrians or drivers," said Vernon.  "It's a reminder that we all must be careful on the road.  Drivers must be patient and vigilant, and pedestrians must be defensive walkers.  Making eye contact with a driver to make sure they see you, before you step in front of the car, is a good tactic to teach our kids." 

For further information contact Detective Josephine Mapson, Central Traffic Division, at 213-972-1825.