The driver of an SUV collided with three individuals last night, resulting in the death of an infant girl and sending a woman and another young girl to the hospital.
The incident occurred at the intersection of King Road and Ocala Avenue on the east side of the city, just before midnight on Wednesday.
According to the San Jose Police, this is the twenty-sixth fatal crash in the city and the twenty-seventh traffic-related death this year.
In the hustle and bustle of the early morning, traffic returned to the busy intersection.
However, just a few hours earlier, Andres Izalde witnessed the deadly scene.
"It still gives me chills, just thinking about it again," said Izalde, tears welling up in his eyes. "Seeing the baby there, lying face down. It was terrifying. I remember my own daughter when she was that age."
Izalde said he woke up after hearing a loud crash, followed by screams. He ran out of his house and found a woman, a baby, and a young girl seconds after they were struck by a Chevrolet Tahoe. He described how their bodies were thrown into the air, saying it was the worst thing he has ever witnessed in his life.
"I only saw the lady lying on the ground, and my instinct was to approach her to see if I could help in any way," he told ABC7 News. "And as I approached her, I looked forward and saw a baby lying on the ground and a car seat. And I looked to my left and saw a 5-year-old girl also lying on the ground."
Being a father of two young girls, Izalde said he and others in the area are well aware of the dark streets and dangerous drivers.
"The first thing I tell my daughters is to 'get out of the car and run towards the door' when they arrive home. Because there are a lot of crazy people driving around here," he continued. "I don't feel safe outside, but this is where we are now."
The San Jose Police stated that the woman and the two young girls were crossing outside of a marked crosswalk, against the red light. The Chevrolet Tahoe is said to have had a solid green light while crossing the intersection, traveling south on King Rd.
The SJPD said the SUV driver remained at the scene and is cooperating with the police.
As the investigation continues, the SJPD noted that speeding has been the number one cause of fatal crashes and serious injuries on the streets of San Jose.
The city's Vision Zero Task Force focuses on eliminating deaths and injuries from traffic accidents. The group has identified the intersection as part of a priority safety corridor with a high number of fatalities and injuries.
"Ultimately, the number of vehicles on the road does not necessarily dictate whether there will be an accident or not," said Officer Steven Aponte of the SJPD. "It's whether there is a violation of traffic rules: if there is speeding, if there is inattention, and that's what we're investigating."
"Ultimately, that won't bring back a deceased child lost on the roads of San Jose," he added.
Officer Aponte said the area was part of his patrol route when he was an officer, and he has witnessed traffic accidents that have occurred right at that intersection in the past.
"It's a major thoroughfare, a significant arterial road for the east side of San Jose," he described.
The city's Department of Transportation issued a statement, saying:
"The Department of Transportation is saddened to learn of the pedestrian fatality that occurred at the intersection of King Road and Ocala Avenue on the night of July 18th. Our hearts go out to the family and loved ones of the victim. To make our streets safer for pedestrians, scooter riders, cyclists, and public transportation users, the Department has over 200 roadway safety projects planned for completion by 2023.
We have safety improvements planned for King Road and are currently developing a Comprehensive Plan for King Road. The project area spans six miles, from Berryessa Road to East Capitol Expressway, and includes the intersection at Ocala Avenue. The plan aims to make the project area safer for pedestrians, scooter riders, and cyclists. Some likely improvements include wider sidewalks, ADA-compliant pedestrian crossings, protected and separated bicycle lanes, and ADA-compliant protected and accessible public transportation stops."
The statement continued, "Safety is everyone's responsibility, and we urge San Jose residents to do their part. Always remember to drive safely: reduce speed, put away your cell phones, and keep your eyes on the road."
While the morning scene continues to haunt witness Izalde, he can't help but feel pain for the deceased baby and the young girl and woman sent to the hospital with injuries.
"If the mother is still unconscious, I just can't imagine her pain when she wakes up and finds out about the baby. Because they took her away while she was unconscious. It was really bad," he added.
The SJPD has not confirmed the relationship between the three victims.
Originally posted at Liga Legal® Abogados