Breaking News Blog

Wednesday, Nov 14 2012 06:12 PM

Child walking to school in Delano dies after she's hit by truck

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    Shaylyn Anela Pinoliar, 12

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    By Rebecca Kheel / The Californian

    Zelma Pinoliar talks about her granddaughter, Shaylyn, who died Wednesday when a car hit her as she was crossing the street on her way to school.

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    By Rebecca Kheel / The Californian

    Shaylyn Anela Pinoliar died while crossing the intersection at Summer Drive and Browning Road, a major thoroughfare for both cars and pedestrians in Delano.

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BY REBECCA KHEEL California staff writer rkheel@bakersfield.com

DELANO -- Shaylyn Anela Pinoliar was walking to school Wednesday morning just like she had most days since kindergarten.

But when Shaylyn, 12, crossed Browning Road with her brother walking behind her, a car turning right didn't see her and ran her over, police said.

By the time she arrived at the hospital, she was pronounced dead.

"When I came, they were doing CPR, but I already knew something was terribly wrong," said Shaylyn's grandmother, Zelma Pinoliar.

At 7:32 a.m., Shaylyn was crossing the street, said Cmdr. Lynn Venables of the Delano Police Department.

Blanca Felix Leon, 26, was driving eastbound on Summer Drive. She stopped at the stop sign at the corner of Summer and Browning, Venables said. She started to turn right onto Browning, but heard that she hit something. Leon got out of her car and saw Shaylyn.

Shaylyn was taken to Delano Regional Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead, Venables said.

Leon was only driving a few miles per hour at the time, Venables said. But she was driving a Ford F-250 pick-up truck.

"That's probably why it caused as much damage as it did," Venables said.

The investigation into the crash is ongoing, so Venables did not know if Leon will face charges.

Shaylyn's grandmother said she wants justice for her granddaughter.

"Of course I feel anger. That's number one," she said.

Shaylyn was the favorite of her 13 grandchildren, she said, fighting back tears. She was great at watching the younger grandchildren.

She would often tell her younger siblings and cousins, "When you grow up, I'll teach you baseball," Pinoliar said.

Shaylyn was athletic and played baseball and basketball. She also played games and puzzles with her family every night, Pinoliar said.

On Wednesday, Shaylyn's middle school, La Vina Middle School, was supposed to announce who made the junior varsity basketball team. Shaylyn's name was on that list, said Jennifer Townson, the school's principal.

But the school didn't post the list out of respect for Shaylyn's family, Townson said.

Shaylyn always had a large group of friends around her, Townson said. And her friends didn't just come from one activity. They were from sports, music and class.

On Oct. 31, Shaylyn won La Vina's citizenship award, an award given to a student each trimester.

Those who win do so for "being the type of person who others want to be around," Townson said.

There are only 750 kids at La Vina, and some have been together since kindergarten. So, Shaylyn's death was felt at the school, Townson said.

The district sent over four therapists who were busy consoling students and staff all day, she said. The therapists will be at the school the rest of the week.

To honor Shaylyn on Thursday, everyone at the school is supposed to wear purple -- her favorite color. That idea came from some of La Vina's students, Townson said.

Any other memorials, like a ceremony at the school or a full page yearbook ad, will be at the consent of Shaylyn's parents, Townson said.

In light of the accident, Delano Union School District is rethinking all its safety measures for students who walk to school, said Mark Luque, assistant superintendent of educational services.

For the first time, on Wednesday afternoon the district placed crossing guards at the intersection where Shaylyn was killed. That's now going to be a regular practice, Luque said.

The district is going to work with the city to find other ways to prevent future accidents, he said.

In the meantime, Delano's close-knit school district is mourning Shaylyn's death, Luque said.

"She was just a great kid," he said. "You never want to lose any kid, but her future was limitless."

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