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Girl, 8, Struck and Killed by Car on Way to School

Times Staff Writer

Francisco and Francisca Trujillo got up early Monday morning, as they always do, so they could leave their Santa Ana home by 6:30 and arrive at their jobs in Laguna Hills on time.

Their daughter, Yamilet Reyes, left the house soon afterward, as she did every school day, to walk to her classes at Grant Elementary. She never made it.

The 8-year-old girl was struck by a car and killed as she walked across Main Street in a crosswalk at Walnut Street at 7:45 a.m. Yamilet was rushed to Western Medical Center in Santa Ana and was pronounced dead minutes later, Santa Ana Police Investigator Tony Duran said.

A 26-year-old woman was driving south on Main when her car struck the girl. Police are investigating.

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Yamilet was wearing an identification bracelet at the time of the accident, which made it easier for police to contact her parents and school officials, Duran added.

The Trujillos had moved to their small, neat home just five months ago from Los Angeles. Francisco, 32, soon found work as a machinist, and his wife, Francisca, also 32, found work as a seamstress three weeks ago.

Comforting Words

As he and a friend spoke of the little girl, Francisco Trujillo sat in the family den adorned with pictures of the couple, Yamilet and their year-old son, Albert. All the while, neighbors, friends and family members moved in and out of the living room and bedroom, offering comforting words.

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“We will always be with you,” said a man dressed in blue coveralls, as he took Francisco’s hand. As her husband spoke, Francisca Trujillo answered phone calls of condolence. At times she had difficulty speaking through her tears.

Yamilet was “normal, just like all children,” her father said in Spanish, his eyes red from crying. Jose Ramirez, the family’s next-door neighbor who occasionally baby-sits for the Trujillos, described the little girl as precocious.

“She was special for a girl her age,” Ramirez said. “She’d always be the one to feed the little baby.” Ramirez and Francisco Trujillo both said Yamilet was an intelligent youngster and a good student.

‘Quiet Little Girl’

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Grant Elementary Principal Betty Nickel said that Yamilet, who was smaller than most of her third-grade classmates, was a “quiet little girl” in the school’s bilingual education program. Yamilet was “learning English, and at the same time learning to read in Spanish.”

Nickel said Yamilet would usually walk the four blocks to her school with an older friend to whom Francisca Trujillo would pay a small allowance.

Ramirez said the little girl was conscious of the dangers of crossing streets, adding, “She was so careful in everything she would do.”


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