SOUTH LOS ANGELES ( — The friends and family of a 16-year-old boy struck and killed on his way home from church Friday are grieving his death and calling on the city to make the crossing safer for the community.

Nathan Mota, 16, was crossing Normandie Ave. and 42nd Place after leaving Saint Cecilia Church, where he was a member of a youth group.

His mother said the teen, an avid reader who attended Verbum Dei private school, was walking the three blocks to his home in South L.A.

“A lot of the kids walk to school,” said the victim’s mother, Lissette Mota. “People, they do not slow down, they don’t slow down.”

Around 8:20p.m. a driver plowed into the teen in the crosswalk. Police said the driver of a white vehicle, possibly a Nissan, did not stop to check on Mota and continued to drive northbound on Normandie.

The family said parishioners of Saint Cecilia for years have been trying to get a traffic signal or a flashing sign at the crosswalk where Mota was struck.

“We have a big church, a big community and a lot of people walk. We like to walk,” said Mota.

“You have kids here who don’t have cars, who are going to be walking to school, who are going to be doing the things that the need to. Mothers who are going to go to the market walking because there is only one car for the family,” said Yaneth Palencia, the victim’s aunt.

Father Jorge Ochoa said he spoke to the city Friday hours before the hit-and-run occurred.

“And we were talking about that issue, and they were willing to do something,” said Ochoa. “But unfortunately something happened last night.”

Asked if she had a message for the driver, Nathan Mota’s mother said, “I forgive you. That’s all I can say.”

Police are asking anyone with information about the hit-and-run or the vehicle involved to contact authorities.


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