A Bakersfield family is grieving the loss of an 11-year-old girl, hit and killed while running across Highway 58. Her family told 17 News, they believe it was a deadly game of dare.
Investigators are still trying to figure out why Sahory Rico-Palomares was running across the busy roadway Friday night. There is a fence that surrounds the highway, but California Highway Patrol officers say she found an opening and walked up a hill to the busy freeway.
The accident happened just after 7:30 p.m., west of South P Street in central Bakersfield. "She was smart enough for her not to do that by herself. That's all I can say," said Karina Lopez, Rico-Palomares' Aunt.
Rico-Palomares' sister believes an older girl who she says bullies younger kids in the neighborhood, dared the 11-year-old to run across the busy highway.
"It was something unexpected, obviously. The mom is devastated. We are all so sad, we loved her so much. Everybody is devastated," she continued.
The little girl's family moved to the neighborhood just ten days ago. She was a sixth grader at Sequoia Middle School and one of six children.
"She was really, really hyper and she was so happy all the time and she was really sweet. She would say 'hi' and 'bye' to everyone with a hug, and say 'hi Tia!' Everybody's really sad about it," explained Lopez.
Rico-Palomares' mother was too devastated to speak with 17 News about the sudden loss of her little girl. "Sometimes she blames herself, but it's not her fault. Nobody thought she was going to go outside and play with the little girl and do what she did," she continued.
The CHP says its investigation is ongoing, but the driver that struck Rico-Palomares will not face charges.
The principal at Sequoia Middle School said district therapists will be available for her classmates if they need them.