Family and friends held a candlelight vigil for a San Diego mother, credited for sacrificing her own life for the lives of the children she was walking to school.
A sidewalk shrine of flowers and candles was set up near the spot where Ana Herrera Rodriguez, 39, was killed.
Rodriguez was walking her 4-year-old daughter and a 5-year-old neighbor to preschool when the three were run over on Cottonwood Street in Shelltown, right in front of their homes.
Loved ones are grieving but also demanding answers.
“All we can ask is pray for them, pray for her kids, pray for her family,” the victim’s grandmother Andrea Garcia said.
Rodriguez is considered a hero. Witnesses say she pushed her daughter and neighbor away from an oncoming San Diego Gas and Electric utility truck.
“The baby she was hurt and had bruises on her face. She was conscious and asking for her mom,” the victim’s cousin Julia Gutierrez said.
Gutierrez stayed Rodriguez's daughter at Rady Children's hospital for a while. The little girl is spared the sad news of her mother's death for now.
“It's really hard for me, the dad and the family. We don't know how we will actually tell her because she was close to her mom,” Gutierrez said.
This is the second fatal accident involving SDG&E drivers in as many weeks. The company would not respond to questions, but wrote this in a prepared statement:
The driver was on duty and driving a company vehicle. The circumstances of this accident are under investigation and SDG&E is cooperating fully with authorities.
Rodriguez's 20-year-old son Jose showed us where she was killed. He said the family was told the driver turned onto Cottonwood from the alley at low speed before colliding with Rodriguez and the two children. He and others at the vigil find the account suspicious.
“We want answers, and we want them now. There was a life taken too soon,” Garcia said.
As of Wednesday night, Rodriguez's daughter remained in intensive care at Rady Children's Hospital. The neighbor's child who was injured in the crash was recovering at home. Her mother says she is doing a lot better but heavily medicated for the pain.
On Thursday, the school district will have crisis counselors on hand at Balboa Elementary School, where kids were in preschool.