Four-year-old killed by truck | SierraSun.com

Four-year-old killed by truck

David Bunker

A four-year-old boy riding a Big Wheel tricycle in Donner Creek Mobile Home Park died on Monday when a pickup truck driving down the street ran over him.The 23-year-old Truckee man driving the truck was entering the mobile home park to visit friends, police said. Because of the slope of the street, the driver’s vision of the road ahead was blocked, said Truckee Police Lt. Jeff Nichols of the collision that occurred at approximately 4:40 p.m.”He was on an uphill incline and never saw the child,” Nichols said.The child, Mario A. Zarate, was severely injured when police arrived. Paramedics rushed him to Tahoe Forest Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The driver of the pickup, whose name police withheld, stopped and waited for police to arrive, said Nichols. Tests at the scene showed he was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs. He did not appear to be driving recklessly, police reported.”There was no indication to suspect that there was anything in his system,” said Nichols. “He was very cooperative and very upset himself.”The boy who died had just finished preschool and was headed to kindergarten, said Margarita de Nevarez, a family advocate with the Truckee Family Resource Center who attended the boy’s preschool graduation.”It’s really sad,” said Nevarez. “It’s a tragedy.”Many residents of the mobile home park are devastated by the death, said Donner Creek Mobile Home Park Manager Maria Soto.”Right now everybody is still in shock,” she said.A vigil was held on Monday night for Zarate, and friends and family have placed flowers at the spot where he was hit, said Soto.Michelle Nieves, assistant manager at the mobile home park, said she hopes people will learn to drive slowly and cautiously within the mobile home park as a result of the tragedy. The community near Donner Creek is home to approximately 200 children, she said.”People don’t respect the speed limit in there,” Nieves said.For information on ways to help the Zarate family, contact the Donner Creek Mobile Home Park at 587-4466.