Police investigate deadly crosswalk crash, community rallies with support for girls’ families

POLICE STILL INVESTIGATING DEADLY CROSSWALK CRASH

By Jessica Fryman

Charges against a 78-year-old woman have not been filed as North Las Vegas police continue to investigate the Friday crosswalk crash that killed one girl and severely injured two others, police said.

The investigation could take weeks as officials wait to receive the driver’s toxicology results and look further into details at the scene on Camino Eldorado near Tropical Parkway, Sgt. Tim Bedwell said.

Bedwell would not speculate but said the death of 6-year-old Amelia “Mia” Decker on Monday could affect the severity of potential charges the driver might face.

Alyssa Mowery, 5, remains hospitalized at University Medical Center in critical condition. Her 6-year-old sister, Rain Mowery, was treated for a fractured skull and released Sunday. The two 13-year-old girls who were walking behind the younger children were not injured.

Police would not release the driver’s identity, stating it is the department’s practice to withhold names unless someone is charged or arrested, Bedwell said. Although the driver in Friday’s crash failed to stop at a crosswalk, a citation has not been issued.

Despite debate about the crosswalk’s visibility, another vehicle stopped at the intersection should have been an indication that somebody was crossing the street, Bedwell said.

“We see this violation every day,” he said.

Nevada law requires drivers to stop or slow down if another vehicle is stopped in a travel lane until they can determine whether that vehicle has halted for a pedestrian. The law also states that a crosswalk exists at any intersection, whether or not it is marked.

Five children entered a marked crosswalk near Eldorado Park about 6:45 p.m. Friday after a vehicle in the lane closest to them halted. The 78-year-old woman traveling in the outer lane did not stop and crashed into the three youngest children in the group. Preliminary investigations show the woman was probably driving no faster than 35 mph, the posted speed limit.

After impact, the woman continued driving for about 60 yards, carrying one of the girls on her hood until she stopped the car, ejecting the child, Bedwell said. Another child was either dragged or carried on the car for at least part of that distance, but police said complete details were not yet clear.

This story was originally published in the Las Vegas Review-Journal
on Oct. 26, 2011.
Original story on the Las Vegas Review-Journal website.

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in print in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

SUPPORTERS GATHER AT VIGIL FOR GIRLS STRUCK IN CROSSWALK CRASH

By Jessica Fryman

The lyrics of Justin Bieber’s pop hit “Baby” blared through the sound system on Friday night at Eldorado Park . Some of the more than 200 in attendance danced, others giggled. The song may have seemed out of place for another candlelight vigil, but here, mixed with tears, it somehow fit.

The song is 5-year-old Alyssa Mowery’s favorite, and her family hoped she could hear it, a tune of support toward her recovery from a crosswalk crash that has kept her in a medical-induced coma.

Her 6-year-old sister, Rain Mowery, was treated for a fractured skull and released Sunday. Their 6-year-old friend, Amelia “Mia” Decker, died Monday from injuries she suffered in the accident.

The candlelight vigil was held a week after the deadly North Las Vegas crosswalk crash that rocked the community. The service overlooked the crosswalk at Camino Eldorado and Bent Arrow Drive where the three girls were crossing when they were struck by a car on Oct. 21.

Protesters at the accident site have called for more visible crosswalks and begged drivers to slow down. Support poured in through teddy bears and flowers at a makeshift memorial and in comments on a Facebook wall dedicated to the girls.

The Mowery sisters’ father, Pat, called the support “overwhelming.”

“I wasn’t expecting any of this,” he said after the vigil, as he held Rain on his hip.

The 6-year-old chimed in to say all the kids in her class sent her a note, and students from another school sent one too. But more than anything, she wants her little sister to come home.

“She’s been crying every day, asking for her sissy to come home,” their mother, Christin, said, noting the girls used to make jewelry and loved to play with their dolls together.

The sisters have wild imaginations, always playing make believe, she said.

“I want everyone to pray Alyssa wakes up and she’s that same sweet, creative little girl.”

That’s just what the community did Friday night during the vigil, which focused on prayer for the families. To signify that support, each lit a candle of the person next to them. Hundreds of candles glowed under the starlit sky as family, friends and complete strangers cried and sang “Amazing Grace.”

“You can’t just stand back and do nothing when the community needs you,” said an emotional Jamie Hollis, who lives nearby. “I’m a mother, and this just broke my heart.”

Several members of the girls’ families also spoke at the ceremony, expressing their gratitude for all the support.

Christin Mowery recalled the first time she met Mia, a girl full of “spunk.” Christin had told Mia that Alyssa and Rain needed to go inside the house, to which Mia replied: “They’re not going inside because we are playing.”

Mia’s mom, Michele Terry, followed, adding that she could tell a million stories about her daughter, each that would make the crowd laugh.

Of one thing, Terry was sure: Her daughter wasn’t just looking down at the ceremony, but instead telling God she was going to the park, to play.

This story was originally published in the Las Vegas Review-Journal
on Oct. 29, 2011.
Original story on the Las Vegas Review-Journal website.