CONCORD (KPIX 5) — An 18-year-old woman was killed early Sunday morning in a fatal solo crash off Kirker Pass Rd. in Concord, according to police. Authorities responded to the incident around 12:41 a.m. The woman’s car veered off the road and struck a signal pole.
She was pronounced dead at the scene. The crash closed the southbound lanes of Kirker Pass Rd. for over three hours.
Her family did not want to talk on camera, but the victim’s grandfather, Bill Stroup, identified her as Taleah Montanez of Pittsburg, a graduate of Pittsburg High School who managed a retail store in Walnut Creek.
Police said it is not yet clear what caused Taleah to crash.
“She was the sparkle of my eye,” Stroup said.
Julie Vasquez of Pittsburg knows how heartbreaking this moment is for Taleah’s family. Her daughter, Mireya Vasquez, was also 18 when she was killed on Kirker Pass, just past Hess Rd., in 2015.
“It just brings back the pain of losing your child,” said Vasquez through tears. “She just turned 18 prior to her death, and I know there was so much she wanted to do in this life. She was cheated. We were cheated.”
When drivers travel Kirker Pass, which is a popular cut-through between Concord and Pittsburg just past the Concord Pavilion, they can see roadside memorials on both sides of the road–flowers and mementos that represent lives lost. Kirker Pass is fast, curvy and has no shoulders.
Since 2015, there have been 6 people killed in car crashes along about a mile stretch of Kirker Pass between Clearbrook and just north of Hess Road. Just last year, a 5-year-old was killed when the family’s SUV lost control and careened down an embankment.
Erica Vasquez, Mireya’s sister, said she wished county officials showed more concern.
“Once somebody passes, they put up a sign that says ‘Slow down, caution,’ and after two months, it’s gone and they expect us just to forget that instead of putting something just to prevent another death,” she said.
Just last week, Contra Costa County officials announced the beginning of a road improvement project along Kirker Pass. The Vasquez family said they were not aware of the project, but they hope it will make a difference.