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A 17-year-old student was struck by a city- operated truck while on his way to his Highland Park charter school Tuesday morning and died at the scene, Los Angeles police reported.
Andres Perez, a student at Los Angeles International Charter High School, was killed about 7:30 a.m. at Figueroa Street and Avenue 60 while en route to the campus.
The accident occurred as the unprecedented closure of the Los Angeles Unified’s roughly 900 campuses was unfolding due to a threat received electronically by the nation’s second-largest school district.
Detectives believe the fatal accident occurred before most of the students at the charter school — which is not part of the LAUSD but was closed for the day by its administrators out of caution over what was happening — knew they would be sent home.
The school posted a message on its website, saying: “Due to a potential threat to LAUSD schools, Los Angeles International Charter High School will be taking precautionary action and cancel classes today.”
The driver, who remained at the scene and was interviewed by police, was turning left onto Figueroa Street when the collision occurred, according to the Los Angeles Police Department’s Central Traffic Division.
The 27-year city employee was fully cooperative and was distraught over the boy’s death, LAPD Detective Meghan Aguilar said.
Councilman Gil Cedillo, who represents the area, said the city employee – – who works for the Bureau of Engineering — stopped immediately to help, as did city fire personnel from the nearby station.
Activists have been trying to add bike lanes and traffic-slowing measures on Figueroa Street.
Cedillo, who opposed the bike lanes, said “we don’t have enough information, and there is no indication that this is anything other than a tragic accident at this moment.”
“We had bike lanes down the street, and people were getting hit, until we put in the stop sign,” he said. “Bike lanes do not stop you from getting hit from an accident.”
It’s unclear who had the right of way when the student was hit by the truck, a tractor and flatbed trailer combination that is used to move heavy machinery but was not carrying anything, Aguilar said.
Clifford Moseley, executive director of the school of 225 students and 25 staff members, issued a statement saying the campus community was “devastated by the tragic news” of the student’s death.
“We send our deepest condolences to the student’s family on their terrible loss,” he said. “Our focus now is to provide counseling and other support as needed so the school community can address and heal from this tragedy.”
He also said the decision to close the school was made with the safety and well-being of students in mind.
“Given our location within the boundaries of the Los Angeles Unified School District, we made the decision to follow the district’s lead in closing the school today as a precaution following a safety threat,” Moseley said.
According to the administrator, the boy was a standout student who had been accepted to a film program at Cal State Los Angeles.
It’s unclear if school crossing guards were present or would have been had LAUSD not canceled classes.
— Staff and wire reports
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