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Ventura County

Mother, Daughter Struck and Killed by Truck

Accidents: Both had darted into traffic during an evening walk. The family had just relocated to Ventura from the Midwest.

July 27, 2002|HOLLY J. WOLCOTT and ELENA GAONA | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

An engineer who moved his family from China to the United States to start a new life was in mourning Friday after losing his wife and 7-year-old daughter in a Ventura traffic accident. Yunsheng Su, 36, a hydraulics specialist at the Ventura County Flood Control Department, called police Thursday night after his wife and daughter failed to return from their regular evening walk.

Authorities said Yisha Xie, 36, and the couple's daughter, Shan "Susan" Su, had darted into traffic at Telephone Road and Johnson Drive and were hit by a truck.

"They were a beautiful family. This is absolutely tragic," said Sergio Vargas, a colleague of Yunsheng Su. Vargas has started a fund to help pay for the funerals.

Friends and co-workers on Friday tied pink balloons shaped like butterflies to a light post at the scene. They also left large decorated signs, sympathy notes and scattered white roses and gladiolas.

A photograph on one of the posters shows Xie kneeling next to her daughter, who is smiling and wearing a light pink dress.

"They had a really good relationship. Susan's mother would take the time to listen and let her child have a chance to say things," said Mikey Destito, a recreation director at the Ventura Boys & Girls Club, where the youngster attended classes each day.

Destito said her favorite activities were drill team and playing the card game "Uno." Another club official said Susan lost a tooth at the club last week and had asked an activities director to put it in an envelope to save for her mother.

According to authorities, the family often took walks together after dinner.

On Thursday night, however, Yunsheng Su stayed home as his wife and daughter set out from the family's Thille Street apartment, just around the corner from Yunsheng Su's county office.

About 8:30 p.m., the mother and daughter tried to cross Telephone Road, despite a red light and a sign that warns pedestrians against crossing at that intersection, authorities said.

Police officials said the intersection is dangerous because of the high volume of traffic and speeding vehicles.

A 23-year-old Oak View man was driving west on Telephone Road when he struck the pair. Susan died at the scene and her mother died en route to Ventura County Medical Center, authorities said.

The driver was interviewed at the scene and released. Authorities said he will not be cited because they believe he was not at fault.

Co-workers and friends said the family had just relocated to Ventura early last month after living in the Midwest while Yunsheng Su completed his doctoral work at Kansas State University.

Yunsheng Su and his wife had left their parents and other family members behind in their homeland--a southeastern province in mainland China--to move to Kansas about four years ago, colleagues said. Yunsheng Su was hired by Ventura County after responding to an Internet ad, Vargas said.

"We were very fortunate to get him," said Jeff Pratt, deputy director of the Public Works Department. "This is very tough for him because they just got here and he doesn't really have a large support system."

Co-workers said the family visited Las Vegas and Disneyland during their drive from Kansas to Ventura. When the three arrived in Ventura, flood control employees took the family to a Chinese buffet for lunch.

"They were very attracted to the climate here and the little girl just loved the beach," Vargas said. Xie was a stay-at-home mom.

Because Yunsheng Su used his savings to move his family to Ventura, co-workers are trying to raise money to help him with expenses, Vargas said.

Donations can be made to the Su Memorial Fund at Ventura County Credit Union, 6026 Telephone Road, Ventura 93003.

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Times staff writer Jessica Blanchard contributed to this report.

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