Saturday, March 17, 2012 | 4:01 p.m.
A northwest valley community is mourning the loss of an 11-year-old girl who was fatally struck by a school bus near Ann Road and Pebble Rock Drive Friday afternoon.
Police say the girl may have fallen under the school bus around 4 p.m. Driver Leslie Rice, who was making a right onto Pebble Rock, had three students on board at the time.
The girl, who has not yet been identified, was run over and was pronounced dead at the scene. Rice and the three students were unharmed, according to a Clark County School District official.
The accident is the 27th fatal traffic collision in Metro Police’s jurisdiction this year.
Flowers, cards and stuffed animals sat Saturday at the intersection as neighbors and community members came to leave gifts at the spontaneous memorial.
Gary West heard about the accident through his pastor and stopped briefly at the memorial to leave flowers.
“I couldn’t imagine,” he said. “I have two girls of my own. It’s heart-breaking whenever you lose a child like that.”
West, whose daughters are 7 and 8, said he picks his kids up from school for fear that they may get abducted or be involved in an accident.
“We pour out our blessings to the family members,” West said.
Police are asking people who may have witnessed the accident to come forward. The accident occurred during a time when buses are dropping off students and parents are picking up their children, so police are hoping a parent who saw the incident will provide information.
One man, who asked not to be identified, lives on the street where the accident took place and was alerted to the commotion by his dogs. He said police and fire trucks closed the block for four hours while they investigated. The accident is the first of its kind that he’s seen in his 11 years in the neighborhood.
Mike Domino and his granddaughter Samantha, 9, passed the memorial on their way home from the store Saturday.
“It brings tears to my eyes every time I see that,” an emotional Domino said.
He saw the scene after the accident after picking up Samantha from Gilbert Elementary School.
“They got to do something about the bus drivers,” Domino said. “They don’t train them enough.”
The Clark County School District has not yet released information on Rice, the driver.
In a statement Friday, district spokeswoman Amanda Fulkerson said a crisis response team was at the scene of the accident to assist the three children who were on the bus when the girl was killed.
Fulkerson said a letter would be sent home Monday with students “at the appropriate school” to keep parents informed of the situation. She did not identify the school.
“We would like to extend our deepest sympathy to the family,” Fulkerson added.
The girl is the fourth juvenile to be killed by a vehicle in the past six months.
In late October Mia Decker, a 6-year-old North Las Vegas girl, was killed while walking in a crosswalk with her sister and friends. Another girl was also critically injured in the accident when Alice Alava, 78, failed to yield for the children.
In February, North Las Vegas Municipal Court Judge Catherine Ramsey suspended Alava’s driver’s license for two years and ordered her to pay $5,000.
In late October 2011, Lucas Ruiz-Brenes, 15, was fatally struck by a car in Henderson. Although an investigation indicated the teen was not in a crosswalk and may have run in front of the car, the driver, 77-year-old Imre Jeno Dayka, was arrested on a charge of felony DUI with substantial bodily harm or death.
Days later on Halloween, 12-year-old Faith Monet Love was hit and killed in Summerlin while trick-or-treating. The driver, 41-year-old Justin Caramanica, was later arrested on a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs resulting in substantial bodily harm.
Friday’s accident is under investigation and police are asking witnesses to contact Detective William Redfairn at 828-3128.