Child Struck, Killed Near Chase Crash

Police said initial investigation shows no connection between chase crash and crosswalk fatality.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC Bay Area

    A young girl was struck and killed by a car in East Palo Alto Wednesday, just a block away from where a motorcyclist died after being hit by a driver fleeing from police.
       
    The child was struck at about 8:15 a.m. at Bay Road and Gloria Way, Menlo Park Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman said.  She was walking to school with her mother at the time.

    The child was 7-years-old and was pronounced dead at the scene.  Her distraught mother was seen near the child being comforted by a member of the clergy.

    It is not yet clear what caused the accident.   "It's still all under investigation," East Palo Alto police spokeswoman Veronica Barries said.  "We're taking  a lot of things into account at this point."
       
    Maria Lopez, who lives on Bay Road near where the accident happened, said she went outside after the collision and saw a little girl was lying in the street.
         
    Lopez said the driver who struck the girl stopped at the scene.
       
    The girl was a student at Cesar Chavez Elementary School. Reporters on the scene said the driver was a teacher at a different school and was on her way to work.
       
    Officer Veronica Barries with the East Palo Alto police department said there doesn't appear to be any connection between the girl's death and a second crash scene a block away. She said the driver of the car who hit the child was unaware of the chase crash nearby. Barries acknowledged that traffic patterns in the area were different Wednesday because of the road closures connected to the second crash.

    In the first crash, a motorcyclist was killed by a driver speeding away from police, according to police.
       
    The incident started when officers went to the neighborhood and spotted a dark-colored Land  Rover and tried to pull it over, but the driver sped away. A brief chase followed, ending when the Land Rover struck the  motorcyclist while traveling the wrong way on University Avenue, Barries  said.   

    The motorcyclist was pronounced dead at the scene. Police identified him as 51-year-old Danny Lee Dixon of East Palo Alto.

    Police detained several people in the Land Rover for questioning,  and arrested the driver, identified by Barries as 46-year-old Eric Banford,  of East Palo Alto. Barries said Banford has an extensive criminal history.

    She said the Police Department will investigate the circumstances  of the chase and crash.

    "Our basic protocol is to conduct an investigation not only on the  actual crime itself but on the pursuit," Barries sasid.

    She said it appears the chase lasted less than 30 seconds, and  that investigators will review footage from cameras inside the police cars  involved.

    "It's a tragic event, both the motorcycle accident and the  7-year-old," East Palo Alto Mayor Carlos Romero said.

    Ravenswood City School District board member Saree Mading said  district officials sent out an email updating faculty and staff on the  situation.

    "It's a small community. I know the teacher personally," Mading  said.

    Grief counselors are being made available to students, faculty and  staff today, Mading said.

    Bay City News contributed to this report.