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Family Grieves After Girl, 9, Is Killed By Driver While Walking Home From School

RANCHO CUCAMONGA ( — A nine-year-old girl is dead and her seven-year-old brother injured after they were struck by a pickup truck while walking home from school in Rancho Cucamonga.

Ashlyn Gardner and her brother Landon were in a crosswalk on Banyan Street and East Avenue, a block away from Etiwanda Colony Elementary, when the pickup hit them at approximately 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Their grandmother, Renee Starr, spoke to KCAL9's Cristy Fajardo about the incident, and said Landon was devastated when he saw that his sister was hit.

"He said, 'I looked over at my sister and she, you know, was gushing blood. He said, 'I wish I had been gushing blood and not her,'" she recalled.

San Bernadino County Sheriff's Depart Sgt. Phill Dupper said the driver stayed at the scene. The man, whose name was not released, apparently said he did not see the children as he made a left turn.

"At this point we haven't made any determination of the exact cause but I can tell you that alcohol, drugs - they were not a factor - and speed was not a factor," Dupper said.

Parents in the area say they have been concerned about the intersection since the district eliminated busing due to budget cuts, which they say has caused a traffic nightmare and created unsafe conditions for students.

Although investigators do not believe that was a factor in the collision, the school district says they are weighing concerns.

"That's something we're definitely going to take a look at," a spokesman said.

Starr, meanwhile, said she believes the man who hit her grandchildren shares her family's grief.

"He's probably going to feel suffering his whole life, you know, and we do not want that for him," she said.

A fund has been set up to help raise money for Ashlyn's funeral costs. Donations can be made by visiting the website here.

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