DALY CITY, California - Stunned parishioners packed St. Andrew’s chapel as they come to terms with a tragedy that struck the predominantly Filipino parish.
On Saturday morning, just before 9 a.m., a 6-year-old girl was on her way to religious school with her mother when they were hit by a car in front of parishioners.
Police said a woman lost control of her vehicle, suddenly accelerated, jumped a curb and pinned down the little girl, her mother and another woman to the ground.
Father Piers Lahey, pastor at St. Andrew’s said Danielle Naval, 6, her mother and the driver, whose names have not yet been released, are Filipino.
It is not confirmed if the third victim is Filipino as well.
The three were brought to the San Francisco General Hospital. Danielle later died because of her injuries.
Lahey said that religious education for Naval and other children had started a couple of weeks ago.
“Danielle was beginning her preparation for First Holy Communion and that was going to be something she would receive in the spring time,” the priest said.
“We're hoping that there will be a service for Danielle, maybe her schoolmates are gonna plan something and our church is available for the whole community,” the priest added.
Parishioner Norma los Baños said she will never forget what she witnessed that day.
"Pagkakita ko, mayroong isang babaeng sigaw ng sigaw tapos may isang babaeng naipit sa tyan at likod. Na-shock ako sa pangyayari. Hindi ako nakatakbo para tumulong,” said Los Baños.
She said some people rushed and tried in vain to lift the van, to help the victims who were pinned underneath.
“Kumuha sila ng pang angat ng kotse pero di nila naiangat dahil maliit ang nakuha nila sabay dumating na yung firemen at saka mga pulis."
Nothing like this has ever happened at St. Andrew’s but parishioners here said it’s no surprise that fellow Filipinos tried to help.
St. Andrew’s Church will provide grief counseling to its parishioners in light of this tragedy. The Daly City police are still investigating the cause of the crash and the circumstances surrounding it.
Police said it’s not determined yet if charges will be filed against the driver.