An 11-year-old girl died after she was hit by a garbage truck Wednesday afternoon in the southeast Las Vegas Valley, police said.
The Metropolitan Police Department said the girl was standing at the corner of South Sandhill and East Viking roads with two friends about 2:45 p.m. as a Republic Services garbage truck was traveling north on Sandhill Road and was trying to make a right turn onto Viking Road.
When the traffic light turned green for the garbage truck, witnesses told investigators the trio of children hesitated to cross Viking Road at the same time the truck driver hesitated to make the turn, police said.
The 11-year-old began crossing the street and was struck by the side of the truck, Metro Sgt. Robert Stauffer said. He cited “strong indications” that the rear wheel of the truck impacted the girl. Witnesses reported the girl may have been turned around, talking to her friends as she stepped into the road, he said. The girl died at the scene.
“This is a hard one,” Stauffer said.
Republic Services employee Julio Cortez-Solano, 40, of Las Vegas was driving the 2003 garbage truck, and fellow employee 49-year-old Darryl Bryant of Las Vegas was a passenger in the truck at the time of the crash. Metro investigators will be examining sight lines from inside the vehicle to determine if there were any blind spots.
The crosswalk signals at the intersection are not automatic, and it’s unclear whether any of the children pressed the crosswalk button, Stauffer said.
Republic Services of Southern Nevada said in a statement that the company’s “thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved in the tragic accident today.”
The company is “cooperating fully” with Metro as part of the department’s ongoing investigation, Republic said in the statement released Wednesday evening.
Crisis counselors on the scene spoke to the girl’s friends, and the area around the incident was blocked off for more than four hours while police investigated.
At the intersection, pink spray paint marked where the girl was struck. The paint also showed the locations of a backpack and shoe.
A tow truck hauled the garbage truck away about 7 p.m.
The Clark County School District would not disclose what grade the girl was in or what school she had attended, but district spokeswoman Michelle Booth said the school would have grief counselors on campus Thursday.
Late Wednesday night, a single candle illuminated the intersection where the girl lost her life. Soon after, a small group of friends gathered at the site to pay their respects.
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