Fatal bicycle accident: An 9-year-old girl died Friday morning after being struck by a van Thursday afternoon while she was trying to cross a Stockton street on a motorized bicycle.
• A little girl was either walking or riding a motorized bicycle in a crosswalk when she was hit by a van.
• The bike caught fire. The girl suffered severe burn injuries and head trauma.
• The victim was airlifted to a hospital where she died several hours later.
• Police are trying to determine whether the van ran a red light or could not see because of bright sunlight.
• It is illegal for children to ride motorized bikes. The mother could be charged.
California Highway Patrol Officer Angel Arceo said the little girl, later identified by the coroner’s office as Julianna Radilla, was in the crosswalk at East Main Street and South Wagner Avenue when the accident happened.
There were several people in the crosswalk, Arceo said. The little girl was either riding or walking a small, motorized bicycle and was attempting to cross the street on a green light.
A Chevrolet Astro minivan, driven by a 23-year-old woman whose name was withheld pending investigation, was traveling westbound on East Main Street and may have run a red light before striking the little girl, Arceo said.
The gas-powered Yamaha bicycle caught fire on impact. The little girl suffered major head injury and severe burn injuries on her legs, chest and arms. The bike was still in flames more than 150 feet from the girl when emergency crews arrived.
Paramedics worked desperately to save the little girl as a REACH helicopter landed on the soccer field at nearby Wilhelmina Henry Elementary School. The victim was airlifted to the trauma unit at U.C. Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, where she was listed in critical condition. She died at the hospital at about 2 a.m., Arceo said.
Determining responsibility in this accident will be tricky, authorities said. There are a number of factors to be considered.
It’s not yet certain who had the right of way. Investigators have not yet determined if the van, which was traveling at a rate of speed between 30 and 40 mph, ran a red light. The driver could face charges of involuntary manslaughter if she’s deemed responsible for the crash. But the driver did not appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol and did not appear to be exceeding the speed limit, Arceo said.
The driver told officers she didn’t see anyone in the crosswalk, according to a KCRA News report. Arceo said visbility is limited at that intersection when the sun is setting, which is when the accident took place.
“The sun was going down towards where the van was traveling. So, we aren’t sure if that had anything to do with it,” Arceo said.
“It’s scary because a lot of cars, they don’t stop,” said local resident Yolanda Segura, who heard the accident and ran out of her house. Segura said the intersection is dangerous and many local residents are concerned for the safety of their own children.
An additional factor investigators are considering in the tragic accident is the fact that it is illegal for children to ride motorized bikes. According to a KCRA News video, the little girl’s mother could face charges if she knowingly allowed her daughter to ride the motorbike.
Here are more photos from the accident scene. Click on a thumbnail to see it larger.
Stockton Bicycle Accident Lawyers
The trial attorneys at Blackman Legal Group, a California-based law firm founded by renowned trial attorney Clifford Blackman, have successfully represented bicycle accident victims and their families for 35 years. The nationwide toll-free number to call for a free consultation is 1-866-692-8126.