Family, friends remember girl killed on Highway 180

FRESNO, Calif.

Like many teenagers, Perez was looking forward to this week's release of /*Twilight*/. Now, her family members are trying to understand why such a bright student would try to cross 12 lanes of traffic. "She was always smiling, no matter what. She was athletic, she got good grades," said Angel's sister, Ashley Rojas.

According to the California Highway Patrol, Perez and two friends were walking north on Cedar when they approached the overpass. For some reason, Perez decided to try to cross the freeway instead of using the sidewalk. She only made it across one lane before she was hit and killed.

Perez was an eighth grader at /*Kings Canyon Middle School*/, where she held a 3.8 GPA. Her algebra teacher called her one of his best students. "She was a real leader. The kids would look up to her. Whenever they were having trouble with a problem, they could go to Angel and she would help them with a smile on her face," said teacher Charles Rogers. Rogers couldn't understand why such a level headed and bright student would have decided to cross the freeway.

Wednesday, Perez's desk sat empty during 4th period. Back at the freeway overpass, friends left flowers to pay their respects. Instead of preparing for the holidays, her family members are now planning a funeral. "I just bought her a new phone and we went to get stuff for Christmas, a games and a radio, things she wanted. We were going to set the tree up right after Thanksgiving," said Betty Padilla, Perez's grandmother.

The driver who hit Perez stopped at the scene of the accident. Drugs and alcohol are not believed to have been a factor in the crash.

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