SIMI VALLEY (CBSLA.com) — An emotional vigil was help Friday evening for the fourth-grader killed Thursday walking home from school with friends while playing a “pushing” game.
KCAL9’s Peter Daut attended the vigil where friends and family of Angel Zevallos were still trying to come to terms with the loss.
He reported for the KCAL9 News at 10 p.m.
The vigil ended moments ago, he reported, an emotional time for the community.
Parents and school officials say they’re doing everything they can to help students cope with the tragic loss.
United in their grief, dozens of mourners lined a Simi Valley sidewalk not far from where 9-year-old Zevallos’s life came to a sudden and tragic end.
“It’s just been shocking to get the news,” said the boy’s aunt, Alicia Durbin.
Zevallos and his 8-year-old sister were walking home Thursday from Madera Elementary School on Royal Avenue.
Investigators say they were roughhousing when she accidentally pushed him into the street directly into the path of a slow-moving SUV.
Police say the driver tried to avoid hitting the boy but was unable to stop in time.
Although the SUV wasn’t going fast, Zevallos suffered major head trauma and later died at a hospital.
“Roughhousing is great, you gotta do it, but they need to be safe and told where the limits need to lie. And I just pray that things were instant for him and painless,” said Durbin.
At the site of the crash, the fourth-grader’s devastated classmates came to pay their respects.
“He was my friend, and we trusted each other. Every time we’d make a promise, we’d do that promise. I’m going to miss about all the fun we had and how nice he was,” said friend Christian Mendez.
Zevallos’s family says they are grateful for the public’s outpouring of love and support. And they also have a powerful message for the driver who hit him.
“It’s not your fault at all. It was an accident. There is no way you could have avoided this. Please don’t carry it around like you did this,” said Janice Seguin, another aunt.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help pay for the boy’s funeral expenses. So far, Daut reports more than $25,000 has been raised.