A 13-year-old boy was fatally struck while riding a scooter to school in Riverside Wednesday, and the driver was in police custody on suspicion of being under the influence of prescription drugs, authorities said.
The boy was crossing in a protected crosswalk when the motorist ran through a red light and struck the child at Streeter Avenue and Sierra Street, according to the Riverside Police Department.
First responders were dispatched to the scene at 7:10 a.m. The boy, an eighth-grader at a local school, was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. His relatives identified him as Giovanni Valle.
Valle was struck while crossing Streeter Avenue, and his mangled silver scooter was left at the scene as police investigated. A red Kia sedan with a smashed windshield and dented hood was at the scene as well.
Witnesses said the 44-year-old driver ran a red light through Sierra Street on Street Avenue, according to a police news release.
"They were trying to make him breath, but he wasn't breathing. He was just twitching," a classmate said. "It was an image I couldn't get out of my mind all day."
The driver, who was not identified, was released pending the results of a toxicology report, Riverside police Officer Javier Cabrera said.
The victim's sister said the boy would rode his scooter to school occasionally because the family was having financial concerns.
“Most of the time I took him to school,” sister Veronica Valle said. “We always told him to watch out. … There’s crazy drivers out here.”
Valle called the boy a “loving and caring brother.” She saw him off to school Wednesday morning, she said.
“He told me ‘I love you,’ and I told him I love him too,’” Valle said, tearing up. “I can’t believe it.”
Giovanni Valle was a student at Sierra Middle School, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported. He loved the video game Minecraft, his sister said.