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Boy killed by truck in Newport identified, remembered as ‘smart’ and ‘sweet’

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Brock McCann was identified by authorities Friday as the 8-year-old boy who was struck and killed by a trash truck in Newport Beach on Wednesday.
(Courtesy McCann family)

The 8-year-old boy who was struck and killed by a trash truck Wednesday in Newport Beach was identified by authorities Friday as Brock McCann.

Brock was a third-grader at Newport Heights Elementary School. He and his family attended St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church and lived not far from the intersection where Brock died, according to friends.

Orange County coroner’s officials performed an autopsy Thursday and determined that Brock died as a result of vehicular blunt force trauma, said Supervising Deputy Coroner Larry Esslinger.

Brock was riding or walking his bicycle along 15th Street around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday when a trash truck operated by city contractor CR&R Environmental Services struck him at the intersection with a small cul-de-sac called Michael Place.

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It was just a few blocks from Brock’s school, where third-graders had been let out of class about 15 minutes earlier.

Investigators are still trying to piece together the events leading to the crash.

California Highway Patrol Officer Jeffrey Jones spoke Friday afternoon with students and parents as they dispersed from the elementary school into the surrounding neighborhood.

Martha Tadross, a crossing guard at the corner of Redlands Avenue and 15th Street the past 15 years, said she greeted Brock as he pedaled past her on his bike with a group of other students just minutes before he was hit.

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She remembers he was wearing a helmet because she makes it a point to remind bicyclists who aren’t wearing one.

She said Brock smiled and told her to “have a nice day.”

“His voice is still in my ear,” she said Friday afternoon. “He’s so cute, so smart, just a sweet boy. I was working yesterday and I cried all day. I’ll never forget this.”

Rogelio Castellanos, who was doing construction work on a nearby home Wednesday, said he heard the impact when Brock was hit but didn’t see it.

The truck appeared to have stopped in the middle of making a right turn onto 15th Street, he said.

Brock’s body was lying behind the truck, his bike stuck under the cab, Castellanos said.

The truck’s driver, who has worked for CR&R for decades, is cooperating with investigators, according to a company spokesman.

A makeshift memorial at the corner where Brock was hit began to take shape Thursday morning and had grown exponentially by Friday afternoon, with flowers, candles, stuffed animals, Hot Wheels, a football, soccer ball and other items nearly spilling off the curb onto 15th Street.

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Messages and drawings of Brock on colored construction paper were taped to a power pole and a wood picket fence.

Parents and their children stopped at the memorial on their way home from Newport Heights Elementary to pray and place flowers.

Friends visiting the memorial described Brock as a small but athletic boy who played soccer and football and was always smiling.

One of his teachers gave him the nicknames “Broccoli” and “Brocky boy,” friends said.

Lindsay Merino and her daughter, Mattie, stopped at the memorial Friday to tape a note and toy on the fence. Mattie, a fourth-grader at Newport Heights, is in the same class as Brock’s older brother Jack, Merino said.

Merino said the community is heartbroken by Brock’s death. But, she said, the tragedy also makes her angry.

The sidewalks along one side of 15th Street leading from the elementary school toward Newport Harbor High School are not continuous, forcing students at times to walk and ride without a sidewalk or to cross the street to where the sidewalk is continuous, she said. Brock was on the side of the street with a continuous sidewalk.

“I don’t feel that the sidewalks are safe enough,” Merino said.

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She said she has witnessed close calls between bicyclists and cars on 15th Street but has never heard about anyone being hit. The city, she said, should consider adding lanes along 15th Street to accommodate bicyclists.

“If something changes to ensure this never happens again, then his death wasn’t in vain,” she said.

As of Friday afternoon, 380 people had contributed $37,635 to an online campaign for Brock’s family at gofundme.com/brockmccann.

“Brock loved monsters, penguins and football,” the page states. “This fund has been set up for Brock McCann’s family in their time of need. As a community, please help to support them. The monies will be used to aid in funeral costs, dinners and day-to-day needs as this family works through this trying time.”

The family has not commented publicly.

Staff writer Jeremiah Dobruck contributed to this report.


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