Family members and friends left flowers, candles, balloons and mementos at an impromptu memorial at the corner of El Camino Real and Grant Road in Mountain View, the site of a fatal collision that killed a 13-year-old bicyclist on Thursday, March 17.
Better known in the community as Andre Retana, the child was identified by his official given name, George Oseida, by the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner-Coroner's Office. The Mountain View Whisman School District confirmed he was a student at Graham Middle School. He died at the hospital on Thursday after a collision with a transport truck.
"There are no words that I can say to help take away the pain that we are collectively feeling," Superintendent Ayinde Rudolph wrote in a message to staff and families that he shared on social media. "The Board of Trustees, Graham Middle School Principal Heidi Galassi and I want to express our condolences and prayers to his family and everyone else who was impacted by this student's smile, laugh and heart."
As cars passed through the busy intersection, a small crowd gathered at the corner on Friday afternoon, March 18, to pay their respects.
Valeria Resendiz, a fellow Graham student who visited the memorial on Friday, remembered her friend, who she said went by the nickname Andre, as someone who would cheer up others and make them laugh.
"Everyone made good memories with him because he talked to everyone," Valeria said. "He was really outgoing. He tried to include everyone."
He was looking forward to playing sports in high school next year and was a fan of the San Francisco 49ers, Valeria said.
Her mom, Leticia Resendiz, recalled driving George and Valeria to Great America and said that she remembers George for his smile.
"No matter what he was going through, he always had a smile on his face," Resendiz said.
A family friend started an online fundraiser for his family on Friday which quickly surpassed its goal of $30,000.
Emergency personnel who came to the scene of the collision at around 8:15 a.m. attempted life-saving measures on the teenager, who was subsequently taken to an area hospital where he died, a press release from the Mountain View Police Department said.
According to police, the truck driver remained on scene and was "very cooperative." Police are not naming the driver, who was not arrested, spokesperson Katie Nelson said in an email.
"Speed, drugs or alcohol are not factors in the collision," the press release said.
The investigation is ongoing and will include viewing any video that may exist of the crash, conducting interviews and reconstructing the scene, police said.
"We are devastated by this incident, and we know many in our community are also mourning and may ask what comes next as part of the investigation," the press release said. "First and foremost, please know, these investigations take time."
Grief counselors were set to be available at Graham to speak with any students, teachers or other staff members who needed support on Friday, March 18, and the following Monday, Rudolph said.
"A loss like this affects all of us deeply," Rudolph wrote. "Please take care of yourself, one another, and hug your loved ones a little tighter tonight."
Data from 2018 showed that the El Camino Real, Grant Road and Highway 237 intersection was one of the most dangerous in Mountain View. With 18 crashes in the first half of that year, it topped the list of intersections citywide for the number of collisions.
In light of Thursday's fatal crash, the city of Mountain View will work with Caltrans, the state agency responsible for El Camino Real, to determine whether any changes should be made to the bike lanes and pedestrian improvements that are currently being planned on the road, police said.
According to Nelson, the last fatal crash in Mountain View involving a bicyclist was in 2015.
Due to the accident, some lanes were closed on eastbound El Camino Real on Thursday morning and all of northbound Grant Road between Phyllis Avenue and El Camino Real was blocked, according to the Mountain View Police Department's Twitter page. Police also shut the entire intersection for a time to "conduct a scan of the collision scene," police said.