HUNTINGTON BEACH An 11-year-old girl struck in a crosswalk in an accident Tuesday that killed her baby cousin visiting from Australia has been released from the hospital with a broken leg, the girl’s mother said Thursday.
The mother of Ruby Gould, the 3-month-old who died from head injuries, remains hospitalized with a fractured spine, Kylie Chuntz said.
The tragedy has rallied a community that has long complained about what many consider to be a dangerous crossing at Croupier Driver and Springdale Street, where the accident happened at around 10 a.m. Tuesday.
Ruby and her 31-year-old mother were walking through the crosswalk with the mother’s 11-year-old niece and 7-year-old nephew when a car going north on Springdale stopped for them.
They were on their way to the nearby Westminster Mall to buy a birthday gift for Kylie Chuntz.
Ruby and her mother had been visiting from Australia for about two weeks and were nearing the end of their vacation when another car slammed into the stopped car, sending the infant hurling about 40 feet into the middle of busy Springdale Street.
“My baby! My baby!” Ruby’s mother cried, according to a neighbor who said she witnessed the accident but did not want to give her name.
Ruby’s injured mother then hobbled over to her baby and tried to revive her, the neighbor said.
By Wednesday evening, a memorial had sprouted up on a corner near the accident scene. As cars zipped down Springdale, which has a posted speed limit of 45 mph, votive candles flickered.
Flowers were set among stuffed animals that included a large red dog and a green fuzzy bear.
A colored sign read, “Ruby Gone to Soon,” with her birth date, May 15. The infant would have turned 4 months next week.
The injured 11-year-old, Daisy Chuntz, suffered a broken leg. Daisy’s brother, Jacob, 7, was unharmed in the accident.
Kylie Chuntz, 35, and her husband, Daniel, 37, have been staying at the hospital with Kylie’s injured sister.
Reached by phone Thursday morning, Kylie Chuntz acknowledged the outpouring of support from the community.
“I feel it,” she said.
Distraught, she declined to discuss the accident further.
“We’re doing as well as expected,” she said quietly.
Kylie Chuntz said she was heading to the hospital to visit her sister and said relatives from Australia had arrived.
Ruby Gould died shortly before 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at UCI Medical Center in Orange.
Ruby was the first child of the Goulds, according to friends of the Chuntz family.
Neither driver was injured nor was cited at the scene, but the investigation is continuing. Because the accident involved a death, the probe could take weeks.
On Oct. 20, the Huntington Beach Public Works Commission will consider the permanent removal of the crosswalk at Springdale and Croupier and three other locations during its 5 p.m. meeting at City Council chambers.
Residents in the area have long been concerned about the safety of pedestrians who use the crosswalk where Ruby was killed. Students cross the intersection to get to and from Clegg Elementary School and Stacey Middle School.
“I could see it coming,” said Joe Kutcher, who lives in the neighborhood and visited the memorial Wednesday afternoon. “There should have been a traffic signal out here … maybe the city will do something now.”
A crossing guard that had been assigned to help children cross through the intersection was lost to budget cuts this new school year.
A sign posted before the accident occurred informs residents of the October public meeting regarding removal of the crosswalk.
On Wednesday, a new handwritten sign appeared on bright yellow paper: “Please Do Not Cross Here. Go Down to the Light.”
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