Interchange Dedicated In Memory of Fresno Girl

FRESNO, Calif. Action News learned how the girl's death has led to better rules to protect drivers in construction zones.

The Kimberly Marie Hamilton memorial interchange will forever be a reminder of a young Fresno girl whose life was cut short.

"Other than having my daughter back this is second here," said her mother Mary Sappington.

Six years ago Hamilton was riding with a friend on Fowler Avenue during the construction phase of the off ramp at highway 180.

A flagger gave what looked like a signal to Hamilton's driver. Within seconds Hamilton and her friend were crushed by an earthmover. The friend survived, Hamilton did not.

"This did change practices within CalTrans. This will keep other people alive," remarked Assemblyman Mike Villines.

Villines wrote a resolution to dedicate this part of 180 in memory of Hamilton. He shared that message at a dedication ceremony Saturday morning.

"The state of California has changed the policy of flagging. It was literally put into a manual two years ago and hopefully we'll never have this tragedy again," Villines said.

This is the intersection where Kimberly Hamilton was killed. To this day her parents still bring flowers to this spot to remind drivers of their tragic loss.

"My heart is overflowing with thanks and everything to everybody that's been a part of this," Sappington said.

CHP officers said every year about 300-people die in car crashes in the Central Valley. That number is down from 500 nearly a decade ago thanks in part to newer construction methods.

"They don't look like much but it's this infrastructure that prevents lots of needless tragedy that we have on these county roads," CHP Chief Jim Abrams said.

A scholarship was created to honor students who display the same qualities as Kimberly. That's why recipient Joey Staab performed on the drums.

Kimberly's parents said her legacy will continue through them and those who pass her sign on the highway.

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