East Palo Alto city officials are looking for answers in the death of a 6-year-old girl who was struck and killed in a crosswalk on Bay Road this week.
Mayor Carlos Romero said the City Council will hear a staff report at an Oct. 4 meeting on the death of Sioreli Torres Zamora, who was hit by a car as she crossed Bay Road at Gloria Way on her way to school Sept. 28.
The council will consider whether changes need to be made in the area to deal with traffic conditions, based on the feedback they receive from city staff and community members.
"We will probably get an earful, but that's what we're there for," Romero said "I look forward to a robust discussion."
Romero noted that the Bay Road corridor is a priority for the city, and more than $3.5 million has been spent on improvements to the corridor over the past two and a half years. Those improvements include new crosswalks, curb cuts and a pedestrian-activated crosswalk less than 1,000 feet away from where the accident occurred, he noted.
On Friday (Sept. 30), the Ravenswood City School District posted a crossing guard at the intersection of Bay and Gloria Way, which had previously not been staffed. A guard will continue to work there on an interim basis during both morning commute and after-school hours, the district's assistant superintendent, James Lovelace, said in an email Sunday.
The district currently employs eight crossing guards.
The city's future decisions about how to change the intersection will affect the district's decision on whether a crossing guard will be needed long-term, Lovelace said.
Sioreli was killed while crossing Bay, as her mother and sisters walked a few feet behind her. Police are still investigating the cause of the fatal accident and have not arrested or detained the driver, Alisha Whiteparker.
Acting police Capt. Jeff Liu said investigators are still actively seeking witnesses to the crash, and are urging anyone who may have seen it to contact East Palo Alto police.
Whiteparker, 49, a teacher at Costano Elementary School, is on administrative leave from her job following the accident, according to Ravenswood officials.
Superintendent Maria De La Vega said the school district is taking up a collection at each school and has put out a call for donations to help pay for funeral services for Sioreli, who was a student at Green Oaks Academy.
The district brought in approximately 30 counselors to speak with students Thursday, and those who need it will receive follow-up counseling, De La Vega said.
District staff members are struggling with a great deal of grief over the death, she said.
"We're just trying to start the healing process and trying to make sure all our children feel safe," she said.
Services are expected to be held at Jones Mortuary in East Palo Alto. Donations can be sent to: Zamora Funeral Expenses for Sioreli, c/o Chase Bank, 2300 Broadway St., Redwood City, Calif. 94063, account #980072078.