Local News

Lancaster Boy, 14, Killed While Crossing Street to Board School Bus

A 14-year-old Lancaster boy, who was killed while crossing the street to board a school bus Friday, was being remembered as a funny kid who loved the guitar.

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Gage Rossi, 14, sustained fatal injuries in the crash. (Credit: Family photo)

The teen was walking across Avenue J to get onto a bus that had stopped at a pickup spot when he was struck by a 2014 Kia Forte at just east of 140th Street East (map), according to California Highway Patrol Officer Jeremy Picker.

The boy, identified by the Los Angeles County coroner’s office as Gage Rossi, sustained fatal injuries during the 6:01 a.m. crash.

His mother, Laura Hafner, told her son to “have a good day” as he walked out the door Friday morning.

Minutes later, Hafner said there was a knock on her door. “He said your son was hit, hit by a car,” Laura Hafner said.

She found Gage lying in the street. “I didn’t move him, because I know you’re not supposed to do that,” she said choking back tears. “I took off my own jacket and put it on him, because I know you’re supposed to keep them warm.”

She said it took 20 to 25 minutes for the ambulance to reach the remote neighborhood. “He wasn’t breathing, nothing,” she said. “And that was it.”

The 66-year-old driver who hit Gage stopped immediately, the CHP said.

He had been traveling behind the school bus at 50 to 55 mph when the bus slowed and pulled to the right shoulder for a stop in a rural area east of Lancaster, Picker said.

As the Forte passed the school bus, the teen crossed Avenue J and was struck, Picker said. He was not in a crosswalk.

It was not yet known if the stop sign and lights on the bus were activated, but they were appeared to be in working order upon initial inspection, Picker said.

His family claimed Gage’s death could have been prevented.

Hafner said she asked the school district to turn into their property to pick Gage up so he wouldn’t have to cross the busy street.

“I tried to ask them to change it, but they said they’d have to re-route the bus and it wasn’t in the budget,” Hafner said.

The driver had not been arrested, according to the CHP.

A vigil for Gage was scheduled at Eastside High School on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 11:00 a.m.

UPDATE: An online memorial fund has been set up to help the Rossi family pay for funeral expenses. 

 KTLA’s Melissa Pamer, Kennedy Ryan and Nidia Becerra Tijerino contributed to this article. 

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story gave the incorrect name for the victim. The post has been updated.

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