Tragedy in Hanford, California
Flowers and candles still adorn the intersection of Third and Phillips Streets in Hanford, where three individuals were struck by a vehicle on Friday night.
"The three victims were transported to local hospitals, but unfortunately, two of the pedestrians, a 60-year-old woman and a three-year-old child, were pronounced dead upon arrival," said Lieutenant James Lutz of the Hanford Police Department.
Those victims have now been identified as 62-year-old grandmother Maria Suarez and her three-year-old granddaughter, Jayleen Suarez.
The family did not wish to speak on camera today, but one of Maria's daughters sent a statement to Action News which read:
"My mother was one of the kindest and most compassionate individuals. Everyone knew her for her goodness. They were out for a walk to visit my older sister and were on their way back home, but they never made it."
They say the nine-year-old boy is still in the hospital in Modesto, and his condition is being closely monitored.
The Hanford Police Department stated that drugs or alcohol were not factors in the accident, but they did point out that the intersection is very dark.
"Drivers in dark areas should always make sure to be constantly vigilant and look ahead," said Lieutenant Hutz.
Other drivers we spoke to, like Glenn Burkett who lives in Hanford, said there is always a lot of reckless driving at that intersection.
"These areas are really high-traffic zones and there are always drivers speeding and doing whatever they want," Burkett said.
Another factor is the absence of crosswalks, and both Burkett and Lieutenant Lutz emphasized the need for both drivers and pedestrians to exercise extreme caution.
"I simply say, pay attention to pedestrians and other individuals, and be aware and mindful of what you're doing," Burkett said.
"Especially in areas without crosswalks, lights, and things of that sort, it's really hard to see. So, if you see vehicles approaching, wait until you can no longer see any cars or lights before crossing," Lieutenant Lutz said.
The cause of the accident is still under investigation. The police state that the driver stayed at the scene and is cooperating with the officers' investigation.
Location: West 3rd Street & South Phillips Street, Hanford, California, USA
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