SANTA ANA ( — Authorities say a toddler died this weekend after being struck by a vehicle in Santa Ana, and an investigation was underway into the circumstances.

Officers with the Santa Ana Police Department responded to the 800 block of S. Newhope Street about 9:54 p.m. Saturday following a report of a child, who had been struck by a car.

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When they arrived, they located the 1-year-old boy later identified as Jesus Alvarez of Costa Mesa lying in the roadway at the intersection of Newhope and Flight streets.

Police said the toddler had wandered away from a relative’s home in Santa Ana and onto busy Newhope Street.

Alvarez would have turned 2 Wednesday.

“It’s heartbreaking like for them to have to have a funeral instead of a birthday. I mean, I can’t even imagine what those parents are going through. I mean, it breaks your heart. It breaks your heart.
It’s just horrifying,” Fernanda Thomas, a neighbor, said.

It appears, authorities say, the child walked unnoticed by several homes on Karen Street and turned the corner heading toward Newhope Street.

The babysitter, who was looking after Alvarez, showed KCAL9’s Michele Gile how the child may have gotten out via the front door.

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She explained in tears she had gone to the bathroom quickly, and when she had returned, the child had disappeared.

The babysitter also told Gile she was watching four kids and frantically searched the house and then the neighborhood. She heard sirens 20 minutes later.

Paramedics transported Alvarez to a hospital, where he later died.

Officers said the driver they suspect struck Alvarez remained at the scene and cooperated with authorities. The unidentified driver indicated he did not see the child in the roadway prior to the accident.

Police said intoxication and speed were not factors in the crash.

“At this point, it appears to be a tragic accident but it’s something that we need to look into,” Cpl. Anthony Bertagna of the Santa Ana Police Department told Gile.

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Anyone who may have witnessed the crash was asked to contact the Santa Ana Police Department at (714) 245-8216.