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Calls For Traffic Enforcement Grow Following Deadly Wreck Near SJ School

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A day after a deadly crash, a parent asks drivers to slow down near Parkview Elementary School in San Jose.

A day after a deadly crash, a parent asks drivers to slow down near Parkview Elementary School in San Jose.

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SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – Mourners placed flowers, teddy bears and lit candles next to the spot where a 5-year-old girl was hit and killed by a car Tuesday outside Parkview Elementary School Wednesday.

The girl had been walking with her aunt and 2-year-old sister in a crosswalk in the 300 block of Bluefield Drive next to the South San Jose school after classes ended for the day, San Jose police spokesman Officer Albert Morales said. Parents say they’ve been trying to get the city to enforce traffic laws in the neighborhood for months.

“There’s some family that woke up, went to sleep last night and woke up without their kid because someone was treating this like a speedway and we see that all the time,” said parent Jim Ashman. “Even this morning, we’ve seen cars speeding in and out.”

All three victims were hit by a 1990s Lexus RX300 at about 3:25 p.m. The man driving the SUV stopped at the scene and called 911 to report the collision, Morales said.

San Jose police arrived to find the 5-year-old suffering from life-threatening injuries and learned that a family member had taken the 2-year-old home, Morales said.

The 5-year-old girl was pronounced dead at 3:36 p.m.

The 2-year-old and the aunt were both taken to a hospital. The toddler was released from the hospital Tuesday night but the aunt is still hospitalized and under sedation Wednesday, Morales said.

Police have interviewed the driver about the accident and plan to question the aunt, Morales said.

“The driver was very cooperative with investigators,” Morales said. “We still have to draw some sort of conclusion as to what the cause was…And we won’t know that until we get our final investigations done.”

Morales declined to provide details about the driver except to say that it appears he was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident.

San Jose police are stepping up traffic enforcement and monitoring drivers’ speeds in the neighborhood, which is near West Capitol Expressway. On Wednesday parents were volunteering to monitor traffic and holding up signs asking drivers to slow down.

Police are preparing reports to be submitted to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, which will consider whether to file charges against the driver, Morales said.

The makeshift memorial for the girl, located on the north side of Bluefield Drive, is about 40 feet west of the crosswalk. Neighbors said that is where the girl’s body came to rest after the accident.

Some parents at Parkview Elementary said many drivers go too fast past the school, especially those heading west where Bluefield meets Vistapark Drive.

“I wasn’t overly shocked that this kind of thing would happen,” said Beth Johnson, whose son is a first-grader at the school. “People do speed through here.”

Jessica Ashman, whose son is in the second grade, said a parents’ group had “tried to drum up support for awareness for the traffic going through here” months ago.

She said many drivers “blow through the stop sign” at the other end of Bluefield Drive.

San Jose police currently have 17 officers assigned to the department’s traffic division to patrol five enforcement zones in all of San Jose, down from more than 30 officers because of budget cuts in recent years, Morales said.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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