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Community mourning 7-year-old killed in NE Fresno crash

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Police are still waiting on toxicology reports for the man accused of causing a deadly crash.

They say Central High School's basketball coach, Loren LeBeau, was driving drunk when he struck Jesse Maldonado and his two children in a crosswalk on Wednesday night.

7-year-old Donovan Maldonado died from his injuries while riding his bike with his family on Shepherd Avenue near Millbrook in Northeast Fresno. It's a well-travelled crosswalk, but there are no working street lights.

A memorial at the site continues to grow with flowers, signs and sayings. People are also collecting money for the family as two of the victims are still recovering in the hospital.

The community also continues to express concerns about the safety of the crosswalk.

In broad daylight signs warn pedestrians to watch for cross-traffic. Cyclists carefully cross the street and even in daylight.

One single light pole has come in question. It's located just west of the crosswalk and was not working on Wednesday night when Maldonado and his two children were struck.

"This particular light wasn't on our repair list hadn't been reported so I'm not sure yet why its not working. I just saw it last night so we have to get a crew out when they're next available on Monday," public works director Patrick Wiemiller said.

Wiemiller says the light was never intended to completely illuminate the crosswalk in question. He says either a light bulb went out or a sensor malfunctioned.

"There's no amount of design of the roadway no amount of maintenance that can overcome the hazards of a DUI driver and tragically these things happen in broad daylight as well," Wiemiller said.

When the city designed the crosswalk on Shepherd near Milllbrook, reflecting lights like those on Peach near Alluvial were not part of the plan. A pedestrian and cyclist tunnel like one near Fresno and Nees has been discussed for years, but the city has never had the funds to build it.

In the meantime, city leaders and an entire community are mourning the loss of a seven year old boy and a basketball coach is facing serious charges stemming from his death.

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Tags:
fresno, fresno county, fresno northeast, dui, accident, crimetracker, local, stephanie stone
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