Charter School Student Fatally Struck in Highland Park Collision Is ID’d as Montebello Boy

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A 17-year-old charter school student from Montebello was fatally struck by a large flatbed city truck in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Highland Park on Tuesday morning, about the time that LAUSD students were told not to come to campus due to an emailed threat against schools.

The collision occurred about 7:10 to 7:15 a.m. at Avenue 60 and North Figueroa Street, according to Los Angeles Police Department Detective Scott Lawton, who spoke on scene.

The student, identified by the county coroner’s office as Andres Perez of Montebello, was crossing the street when the truck hit him, causing massive injuries. He was pronounced dead by responding Los Angeles Fire Department personnel.

The victim was walking eastbound toward Los Angeles International Charter High School, where he was a student, when he was struck, Lawton said.

A teen student was killed in a crash in Highland Park on Dec. 15, 2015. (Credit: KTLA)
A teen student was killed in a crash in Highland Park on Dec. 15, 2015. (Credit: KTLA)

Word of the threat against LAUSD schools was just emerging at the time of the collision, the detective said.

Aerial video from Sky5 showed the collision took place on Figueroa just south of Avenue 60. A long yellow flatbed truck was stopped in the roadway, and Figueroa was closed off to traffic more than two hours after the crash.

The truck bore the L.A. city Bureau of Street Services logo on its door. The driver is a 27-year employee of the city and was working his shift at the time of the collision, Detective Meghan Aguilar said in a brief news conference.

The truck, which is used to move heavy machinery, was turning left from Avenue 60 onto northbound Figueroa when the crash occurred, Aguilar said.

The boy was walking in the crosswalk, but investigators were not sure whether he was walking with or against the traffic light, Aguilar said. Pedestrians have the right-of-way and drivers must yield, she said.

A City of Los Angeles Bureau of Street Services appears to have been the vehicle that fatally struck a student in Highland Park on Dec. 15, 2015. (Credit: Courtney Friel / KTLA)
A City of Los Angeles Bureau of Street Services appears to have been the vehicle that fatally struck a student in Highland Park on Dec. 15, 2015. (Credit: Courtney Friel / KTLA)

The boy’s family has been notified and was talking with the mayor’s crisis team, Aguilar said.

The driver of the truck sat on the curb crying after telling police that the boy had just jumped in front of his vehicle, according to a AAA worker on scene. The driver went to the hospital shortly afterward, the AAA worker said.

The driver was cooperating and very distraught, Aguilar said.

Los Angeles Unified School District officials announced shortly after 7 a.m. that a credible threat to “many schools” prompted the closure of all campuses. The threat was “very specific,” involving explosive devices, assault rifles and “machine pistols,” and was directed at all schools, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck later said.

Like several other charter, private and parochial schools, Los Angeles International Charter High School was closed due to the threat, according to a statement on its website. The school had 256 students last year, according to state data.

The campus, at 625 Coleman Ave., is about three-quarters of a mile from the crash site.

Thirteen people have been struck, two fatally, at Figueroa Street and Avenue 60 between 2002 and 2013, the Los Angeles Times reported, saying data showed it to be a particularly problematic spot for pedestrians.

Perez was the third person killed in a short stretch of Figueroa so far this year, the local news website the Eastsider reported.

A 51-year-old woman was fatally struck on Figueroa at Avenue 55 in September, and cyclist was killed by a speeding drunken driver at Figueroa and Marmion Way in June.

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