Young girl walking on foggy Friant Road hit and killed as mom fights with partner, officers say

The partner, identified as 51-year-old Juan Jose Del Toro, has been arrested on domestic violence charges.

Sunday, November 14, 2021
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An 8-year-old girl was hit and killed on a foggy Fresno County road on Friday night as her mother fought with her partner in their car.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A small set of plastic flowers lie on a stretch of Friant Road, serving as a reminder of a small girl who lost her life here on a foggy Friday night.

The California Highway Patrol says a 22-year old woman was driving north on Friant, just north of Fresno - with her 8-year-old and 2-year-old daughters in the car.

Also in the car was 51-year-old Juan Del Toro - and at some point, things escalated to a domestic violence situation.

"He was the aggressor towards the driver. The driver, fearing for her safety, pulled over to the right shoulder," says California Highway Patrol Sgt. Mike Salas.

She pulled the car over on Friant just before 10 pm - and at some point, as the violence continued, the 8-year-old got out of the car and wandered into the roadway.

As she did, an 82-year-old man was driving north - and in an area with no lights and dense fog settling in, he couldn't see the young girl, who was hit and killed.

Del Toro was arrested for domestic violence, the 22-year-old woman was arrested for driving drunk, and later released.

"A tragedy in total. We have domestic violence, we have driving under the influence and now we have the death of an 8-year-old child," says Salas.

A domestic violence situation spiraling and causing further harm is not a new concept for Charity Susnick of the Marjaree Mason Center.

"When someone is experiencing trauma, they just want it to stop. They want to get out. So in many cases, yes, you'll see something tragic happen as a result of just wanting to escape what's happening in that situation and in that moment," she says.

And if you find yourself in that situation, Susnick stresses the importance of getting help.

"If you're in immediate danger, call 911. Call law enforcement. If you're in a situation where you and your children can get out safely, we encourage you to call our hotline number, that's available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week."

If you are the victim of domestic abuse, or you know someone who is, there is help available 24/7. In Fresno County, call the Marjaree Mason Center at (559) 233-4357. In all other locations, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-7233

If you have information about this domestic violence incident or if you were in the area and have information that could help law enforcement, you're asked to call Fresno County Sheriff Sgt. Chad Stokes at 559-600-8144.