Parlier boy dies in crash involving an unlicensed driver

Sgt. Thomas Rodriguez with the Parlier Police Department said, "They were found at the rear of the truck when we got here. Two of them were sitting down at the curb and then the deceased child was up against the wall."
FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- About 200 people turned out to remember a 9-year-old boy who was killed while walking to school Thursday. Parlier police say thick fog and wet roads are partly responsible. But an unlicensed teen driver is potentially facing charges.

Diego Estrada, 9, was struck and killed while walking with his 16-year-old sister, Zujey Ramirez and a 17-year-old friend.

Zujey returned to the scene with her family about an hour after being released from the hospital. Throughout the evening about 200 people showed up to place prayer candles at the scene, a large enough crowd police shut down the road.

"It shows support from the community," said Cindy Mendez, a Parlier High School senior. "It's sad, but it means something."

Parlier police say a white Ford pick-up truck struck the kids around 9:30 in the morning. "The vehicle was stopped at a posted stop sign and then it made a left hand turn on to Madsen Ave traveling northbound when it lost control," said Parlier Police Sgt. Thomas Rodriguez.

Investigators say another person was in the truck, but left before officers arrived. They say the driver is 17, has no license, but is cooperating in the investigation. Police are not yet pointing to reckless driving, but say criminal charges could be filed.

Neighbors are angry. "I don't know why, some teenagers, they think they could do whatever they want," said Louise Perez. "But it's too much, they could hit somebody like they did."

Diego was a fourth grader at Brletic Elementary. His sister is a student at Parlier High School. Grief counselors will be on campus Friday.

"It is an opportunity when we see our community come together to see how we can improve the lives of our kids while we still have them," said Parlier Superintendent Gerardo Alvarez.

Police are expected to release more information soon as the investigation unfolds. Parlier Unified says it's in the process of helping set up a fundraiser for Diego's family.

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