Posted on 11 March 2013.
Saturday Night Accident Takes Life of Young Boy
Coming across the accident scene Saturday night we saw Eureka Police had cordoned off six blocks of the area with patrol cars, flares, and barricades.
The screaming red, white, and blue lights of their cars brilliantly illuminated and flashed at every intersection of Carson, J, and Buhne streets near Eureka High School. Two members of the EPD’s volunteer patrol moved along the outside perimeter in precise order, slowly laying out cones and portable warning lights and blocking the streets from entry.
We entered nonetheless. A stream of broken
glass and debris littered the immediate scene and curb.
In the center of Carson and J Street a lone pair of black high-top tennis shoes, one upright, the other on its side, lay three feet apart. These were the pedestrian victim’s shoes, released or jettisoned by the force of the accident’s impact. Two small painted circles surrounded them, guarded by the larger circle of three officers casually making some small talk between themselves and observing all directions
up and down the empty streets.
One of the EPD officers broke from the circle and stopped us from approaching. He called us to a halt, putting out his hand as we came near.
Asking what happened, the officer, a young recruit sporting a military buzz cut and new to the force, was unsure how to respond. He didn’t know whether he should reply or send us on our way.
“It was a pedestrian accident– about an hour ago,” he brusquely said when questioned further. “A very bad one.”
“Those shoes are evidence,” he explained reluctantly after we pointed them out lying in the middle of the street. The remaining two officers kept up their lookout.
“The victim was brought to the hospital. He’s a young kid. We’re doing an investigation now. It’s going to be a long night for us,” he sighed.
The officer said eight EPD officers in total responded—half of the force on duty that night—because of the accident’s seriousness. “We should be elsewhere tonight but we all have to respond when something like this happens.”
Staying mum on the details pending the department’s official comment, he warily added, “We don’t know if it’s related to a teenage party on Huntoon Street or not. Do you know? We’re looking into that.”
“You’ll read about it in the paper when the details are released. Other than that, that’s it,” he finished by saying.
Indeed. The EPD press release about the boy’s tragic death and accident came out today.
On the morning of Saturday’s fatality, the Times-Standard had just reported that Eureka garnered some of the worst statistics for traffic accidents and injuries statewide. In fact, Eureka ranked #2 out of 93 similarly-sized California cities for total fatal and injury collisions, and #3 for pedestrian collisions.
Two weeks ago a collision occurred involving a Eureka High School student who was thrown the distance of a crosswalk while walking at the intersection of Del Norte and I streets toward Eureka High School.
Following Saturday night’s deadly accident, a car driven by an unlicensed driver plowed into a resident’s yard in the same area of Buhne and I Street near Carson Park, taking out a tree, some of their lawn, a stoplight, and a white picket fence the next day.
Having nothing more to say and not really wanting us there, the young EPD officer shooed us back and away into the eerily quiet night.
We have since heard the young victim was 14-years-old and in the 8th grade at Jacoby Creek School. He may have been leaving a birthday party nearby. He was due to attend a math competition at Stanford next week.
Today the EPD press release reported:
On Saturday, March 9th at approximately 10:16 p.m., the Eureka Police Department received a report of a vehicle versus pedestrian collision at the intersection of Carson St and J St.
Upon arrival, EPD officers located a young teenage male in the roadway who had been hit by a passing vehicle. The juvenile pedestrian suffered life threatening injuries during the collision.
Medical aid was summoned and Humboldt Bay Firefighters and City Ambulance personnel arrived shortly after. The pedestrian was quickly transported to St. Joseph Hospital for treatment of his injuries. Due to the extent of his injuries, he was flown out of the area for a higher level of care shortly thereafter.
On the morning of March 10th, EPD was notified that the juvenile succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead.
It was reported by witnesses that the juvenile was standing stationary in the intersection, in the southbound lane of J St (outside a crosswalk) and was looking down at his cellular phone when he was hit. There was no immediate indication of intoxication or impairment on the part of either the driver or the pedestrian.
The Eureka Police Department would like to remind the public that cell phone distraction is not confined to only motorists, but applies to everyone. Inattention appears to have played a major role in this horribly tragic collision that resulted in the loss of a very young life.
This tragedy not only affects those close to the juvenile but the motorist as well. It also has affected those that responded to the scene and those that are investigating it.
The names of the involved parties are being withheld for investigation purposes.
Any witnesses to the collision are asked to call Traffic Officers Greg Hill at 441-4342 or Tim Jones at 441-4109.
KIEM-TV News Dana Griffin reported that 14-year-old David Pickart-Jain was identified as the boy struck by a vehicle on Saturday night near “J” and Carson streets.
Senior EPD Traffic Officer Gary Whitmer said when police arrived on scene the victim was in the road way. It’s still unsure if he was initially in a crosswalk or not. Witnesses are still being interviewed.
“There seems to be no foul play, no type of gross negligence, and no signs of drugs or alcohol were immediately recognized,” Whitmer said.
Jain was transported to the hospital, but had to be flown out of the area due to the severity of his injuries. He died a day later.
Jacoby Creek School Superintendent and Principal Catherine Stone had crisis team members come in to help the students cope. “We’re all just deeply saddened by this loss. We wish we could back up time and get a do-over,” she said.
Stone says the eighth grader was best known for his kindness and his math expertise. “He had earned his way to Stanford for a competition and we all kind of thought it was foretelling that he would end up there for college some day. He had such a bright career ahead of him.”
A memorial for David Jain will be held in the coming weeks, but a date has not yet been decided, KIEM-TV News reported.