Family Vigil Follows Trip’s Tragic Turn

Times Staff Writer

It was the first time 7-year-old Kensington Whittaker and his little brother had been to Disneyland.

But the spring break getaway turned tragic Monday when Kensington, of Fillmore, was killed by a car that plowed into him and five family members as they walked to their hotel after a day at the theme park. His brother Zachary, 6, was critically injured.

“They were so excited,” said Virginia Whittaker, the boys’ grandmother.


The accident occurred near dusk as the brothers and four visiting relatives from San Francisco trudged back from Disneyland. They were hit in a Katella Avenue crosswalk by a 17-year-old boy, who was not injured and not cited.

On Tuesday, relatives held vigil at UCI Medical Center in Orange outside of Zachary’s ICU room. Two other family members -- the boys’ uncle and a cousin -- were also being treated at the hospital, both said to be in fair condition. The boys’ aunt and her 3-month-old child were released after being treated for minor injuries.

Authorities said the family was among a crowd waiting to cross the street at Katella Avenue and Convention Center. When the light turned green, the family members crossed in a crosswalk and were struck by the Cadillac driven by the teenager. He was westbound on Katella Avenue about 40 mph, the posted speed limit, police said. Anaheim police said it would take up to six weeks for the investigation to be completed.

The impact left no skid marks but scattered tennis shoes, shopping bags and debris about 100 feet along the road, officials said. The car’s windshield was broken, and the boy was trapped underneath the car. He died at the scene.

Virginia Whittaker, who was not at the accident scene, said the boys’ father, Brian Whittaker, found out about the crash while watching television with an older son at their Fillmore home. She said that as the father watched the newscast, he spotted a relative in the crowd.

“He was just hysterical,” Whittaker said, adding that her son and daughter-in-law rushed to get to the scene from their Ventura County home.

She said they were overwhelmed. “They’ve only been crying,” she said.

Whittaker said Kensington and his brother were the youngest of her 10 grandchildren.

“They were very close,” she said. “Kenny was a very good boy. He was an average kid who liked to play ball, liked to watch television, liked to play video games.”

She said when she spoke to Kensington on Saturday he told her how excited he was to be going to the amusement park.

“I told him to have a great time at Disneyland,” she said. “Now I won’t ever get to know if he enjoyed it.”