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3 Pedestrians Struck, Boy Killed : Tragedy: Separate accidents in Orange and Irvine also leave an 11-year-old girl and a 52-year-old man seriously hurt.


ORANGE — A 6-year-old boy walking to school Tuesday was fatally struck by a car as he stepped into a crosswalk just ahead of his mother.

At almost the same moment, an 11-year-old girl and a 52-year-old man were struck and seriously injured in Irvine in unrelated accidents.

In the first accident, second-grader Jonathan Nicasio was crossing Main Street at Maple Avenue on his way to Sycamore Elementary School in Orange when he was struck just before 8 a.m.

"His mother was a step or two behind," said Orange Police Detective Roy Griffith.

Minutes later, Michelle Buck, who turns 12 on Friday, was toting her books and band instrument to Venado Middle School in Irvine when a car struck her on Deerfield Avenue near West Doe Trail.

Both Jonathan and Michelle were in crosswalks within a block of their schools, police said. And in both cases, a car had stopped and motioned the students to cross the street. As they did, they were hit by cars in another lane, police said. No crossing guards were present.

"There's no protection for them in this kind of accident--when someone is just not looking," said Michelle's uncle, Sia Adabkah.

Jim McMillen, principal of Sycamore Elementary School, said: "They see those yellow-painted lines, and they get a sense of false security. They don't see it coming."

Jonathan died at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange. Michelle was in intensive care in the pediatric ward at Western Medical Center-Santa Ana with a fractured skull, Irvine Senior Investigator Jeff Noble said.

In a third unrelated incident, a 52-year-old man was struck by a car about 7:40 a.m. as he crossed Yale Avenue at Woodspring in a crosswalk. James Ashurst of Irvine was taken to Western Medical Center-Santa Ana with head trauma and pelvis and rib fractures. He underwent surgery Tuesday night.

Police said that all the drivers involved stopped and that none have been cited pending investigations into all three accidents.

Michelle's father, William Buck, said he was shocked at his daughter's condition.

"One moment, I'm so angry at whoever did this to my daughter," he said. "But then the next moment, I'm thinking (the driver has) got to feel awful about this."

Melissa Livermore, an eighth-grader at Venado, was among a handful of students who saw the accident. Melissa, 13, said she was being dropped off when she saw Michelle about to cross the street. She turned around to get her things from the back seat, then heard a "loud thud." She turned and saw Michelle lying face down in the street.

"I was shaking all through first period," Livermore said.

The incidents involving students prompted school officials to offer counseling services to students.

At Sycamore, Principal McMillen attended the classes in which Jonathan was enrolled to console students about the death of their classmate. Students made sympathy cards for Jonathan's mother.

Sycamore is located on a busy section of Main Street. Portola Middle and Far Horizons Montessori schools are within walking distance. El Camino Real Park is down the block.

The speed limit is 30 m.p.h., but neighbors say people travel about 40 m.p.h.

"Some parents have tried to get the city to install blinking lights or something, anything to get people to slow down," McMillen said. "That hasn't happened, and again, I don't want to put the blame on the city."

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