A Delano family is grieving the loss of a 12-year-old girl, hit and killed while walking to school Wednesday morning.
Shaylyn Pinoliar is the 23rd pedestrian death in Kern County this year and the 6th child under age 13 to die on our streets.
Shaylyn Pinoliar's smile beams in her most recent school photo. And, that's where the 7th grader at La Vina Middle School was heading. She made it to the school zone at Summer Drive and Browning Road, near the corner where she'd wait almost daily for her uncle, Juan Cho, to pick her up.
"She just texted us this morning that she needed a ride," said Juan. "She always texted us every day in the morning. She wants us to pick her up or she doesn't need a ride, and she did text us this morning and we were on our way to pick her up."
Juan still has Shaylyn's text on his phone saying, "I'll need a ride today." He got it at 7:17 Wednesday morning. 15 minutes later, police say a driver, 26-year old Blanca Leon, turned right from Summer onto Browning and didn't see Shaylyn in the crosswalk and hit her.
"The driver was in a Ford F-250 pickup, so a fairly large vehicle. So even at a low speed that would probably cause considerable damage," said Commander Lynn Venables, Delano Police Department.
"Yes," said Juan Cho, "She always uses the crosswalk so I don't know why would that truck would not stop."
Police say Leon stopped to help and officers and paramedics performed CPR. But, Shaylyn was pronounced dead at the hospital.
"She's a wonderful girl," said Brian Cua, a close family friend. "She's athletic. She likes to play baseball."
Cua says Shaylyn was a straight "A" student, well-liked, and had just made the basketball team at her school.
17 News found her name engraved in the cement under the basketball hoop at her family's home, as well as other people coming to try and relieve any of the unimaginable pain of such a sudden loss.
"No, no. It's hard to believe," said Cua.
Investigators say they took a sample of Leon's blood to test it and are still plotting the scene to determine if they'll recommend charges.
School administrators say counselors will be available for Shaylyn's classmates if they need them.