Girl fatally hit by truck while waiting for bus

September 25, 2012 3:55:21 AM PDT
The school week began in tragedy in Texas City as a girl, waiting at her school bus stop, was killed.

The girl was doing what nearly all children do Monday morning. She was waiting at 26th Street and 29th Ave, where there is no sidewalk. So she was sitting in the grass by the street when the truck made a wide turn and hit her.

Grief counselors were at Christina Lopez's school Monday and will be all week, if needed. Her parents are grief-stricken but also angry at both the driver and police.

Texas City police officers sat outside the Lopez home on Monday partly to offer help, but mostly to discourage any potential problems.

"I don't know if I'll be able to control my emotions," said Christina's father, Manuel Lopez.

The driver who hit and killed 11-year-old Christina Lopez is her next door neighbor.

"Not only did he take my 11-year-daughter from me, he took her last moments away from me. I could have been holding her hand, telling her I love her," the girl's mother, Nina Lopez, said.

The sixth grader's parents say although the neighbor knew whom he had hit with his tractor truck, it took a long time for anyone to knock on their door.

"She didn't have to go through that by herself," Nina said.

Her daughter was sitting on the edge of the road waiting for her bus when police say the neighbor made a wide turn in the big rig and struck the girl. The driver voluntarily submitted blood for a toxicology test, and charges or traffic tickets could come later. Police don't argue he was at fault.

"We don't feel we have all the information yet," Texas City Police Department Capt. Brian Goetschius said.

Her parents don't think that's good enough. They don't want to wait for a decision.

"How is he free?" Nina said.

Christina was on the Spirit Squad at Levy Fry Intermediate, well-liked and a good student.

Even the district spokeswoman had trouble focusing Monday.

"We lost a little girl today and it's tragic," said Melissa Tortorici with Texas City ISD.

The district will review the safety of the bus stop, as Christina's parents struggle to understand.

"She was 11. How do you not see someone sitting in the grass?" Nina said.

Texas City police say it will complete its investigation and then hand over the case to the district attorney for possible charges. At the very least, police believe the driver was not paying attention or misjudged the turn.

Christina's parents say they plan to meet with investigators to address their concerns.

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