8-year-old jumps out of SUV to get away from domestic violence, gets killed by car


FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE) – A young girl is dead after being hit by a car in Fresno on Friday night.

The accident happened just after 10 p.m. on Friant Road, just north of Willow Avenue.

According to the California Highway Patrol, Maria Ortiz, 8, got out of her mom’s SUV and began walking north up Friant road when she was hit and killed by a car.

Investigators say Maria’s mom, the driver of the SUV, became the victim of a domestic violence incident by a man sitting in the passenger’s seat, identified as 51-year-old Juan Del Toro.

This caused Maria’s mom to pull over onto the shoulder of the road, where investigators say the fight with Del Toro continued, giving Maria the chance to jump out of the car and begin walking along the road.

Weather conditions along Friant were not good, with dense fog blanketing the area, making it hard for Maria to see that she was walking in the middle of a very busy roadway.

The conditions on the roadway made it even harder for the 82-year-old driver of the approaching vehicle to see her, the impact impossible to avoid. 

Authorities say Maria’s mother was charged for driving under the influence. The 82-year-old driver who hit the young girl stopped at the scene and is cooperating with investigators.

Del Torro was booked into the Fresno County Jail on a misdemeanor charge of battery.  

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