SAN BERNARDINO (CBSLA) — A 14-year-old girl walking to Pacific High School in San Bernardino Friday morning was killed by a hit-and-run driver, authorities said.
CBS2’s Tina Patel reported from the scene of the accident.
She said a steady stream of people have been coming by the location all afternoon leaving flowers and candles in the victim’s honor. And many of them were angry that someone could hit Jade Maldonado with their SUV and not stop and offer help.
Patel spoke to Maldonado’s former teacher, Denise Adams.
“She would always help people, help other students, she was always there to pick up her little brother. Just a kind, you couldn’t ask for a better student,” Adams said.
Duffy Hite lives nearby and heard the collision. He says Maldonado was in the crosswalk when she was hit.
“The car kept going and then I seen her laying in the street. She fell off the front, off the hood, and they ran over her and kept going,” Hite says.
The CHP wants the public to be on the lookout for a tan, possibly older model GMC. They believe the SUV would now have major front end damage.
“It happens more when the kids aren’t in school, but people just race down the streets without consideration for anyone,” Adams says.
She hopes the driver is caught soon.
“Our hearts are just broken, the whole community, the schools, the local area. We’re just distraught,” Adams said.
Unfortunately, investigators don’t have a great description of the driver. They believe she is a heavyset woman with brown hair and eyeglasses.
If you have any information, you’re asked to call CHP.
Friday evening, Maldonado’s grieving family, friends and classmates held an emotional vigil to remember her young, but full, life.
KCAL9’s Nicole Comstock spoke to them.
“They announced that she died and I felt her sadness and I felt her pain for some reason,” said Michel Sandoval, a classmate. “And how disrespected. like I felt like, she just drove off?”
San Bernardino resident Elizabeth Arangura said, “How could you not stop? It’s a child!”
Just a quarter-mile away, Maldonado’s family is asking the same thing in the home she grew up.
“She was just starting her day,” says her uncle Albert Pena, “She was a straight A student and she was the light of our life.”
He said she was also their literal Wonder Woman.
Jade was the caretaker for her disabled mother. She was a bone marrow donor for her little brother, Sal. And just recently, she made her family proud by winning the Principal’s Award for excellence at her school.
A Good Samaritan came to Jade’s aid after she was hit.
“He wanted to go after the driver,” says Jade’s father, Emmett Maldonado, “but he couldn’t leave my daughter right there. Huge respect for that man.”
Jade’s father says the Good Samaritan told him that he heard the driver scream just before the impact.
“She had to see my niece because for her to scream, ‘Oh my God’, and then still take off. She knew what she did,” said Maldonado’s uncle, Gino Alarid.
The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help with funeral expenses. Click here for more.