In a compassionate outpouring for the family of a 4-year-old victim of two hit-and-run drivers, residents of the Eastside community of El Sereno raised at least $8,700 Wednesday for a memorial fund in the name of Alejandro "Alex" Vazquez.
The Los Angeles City Council also voted to put up two $25,000 rewards for information leading to the capture and conviction of the drivers of the two cars that struck the young boy, then fled the scene.
"It is unconscionable that anyone would leave a 4-year-old child on the street to die," said council member Nick Pacheco, who represents El Sereno and introduced the motion for the reward.
Two rewards were put up because two different drivers hit the boy when he darted into traffic on Eastern Avenue on Saturday during a birthday party.
The City Council resolution uses the name Alejandro Arteaga, which is the mother's surname. The boy was the son of Lucio and Maricella Vazquez.
A second motion by Pacheco, comparable to action taken last week by the county Board of Supervisors, directs city agencies to come up with a plan of attack to improve pedestrian safety in Los Angeles. The city will work with the county on a plan to address the issue across the region.
Spurring the city and county actions were the deaths of Alex Vazquez and several other pedestrians in traffic accidents.
Los Angeles County was called California's "most dangerous county for pedestrians" in a widely disseminated study of 1998 pedestrian fatalities released Sept. 29.
The Surface Transportation Policy Project study showed that someone on foot was dying on county streets every two days, while almost every two hours a pedestrian was being injured in a motor vehicle accident.
Margie Huitron, executive director of the El Sereno Youth Center, said she thought the fund-raising would reach its goal of $10,000.
"It is just amazing, the kind of support we are getting," Huitron said. "A gentleman with a tow truck came in and made a $250 donation. It's sad that this had to happen, but I think Alex's death was a wake-up call for everyone."