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Mountain View police: 13-year-old fell off his bike before fatal collision

Truck driver couldn't see Andre Retana in the intersection, police say
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Cars drive through the intersection of El Camino Real, Grant Road and State Highway 237 in Mountain View in 2018.

Graham Middle School student Andre Retana had fallen off his bicycle in front of a construction truck, where the driver could not see him, prior to the March 17 crash that killed the 13-year-old, according to findings of an investigation released by the Mountain View Police Department.

Two weeks after the fatal collision at the corner of El Camino Real, Grant Road and State Highway 237 in Mountain View, the police department released the findings of its investigation in a letter Thursday, March 31.

Andre was riding his bicycle from behind the Alliance gas station in the truck's right-side blind spot and then fell off his bike in front of the truck, police said. The truck driver came to a complete stop at a red light and traffic was clear before he turned right onto eastbound El Camino Real. The driver did not realize he had been involved in the crash until bystanders told him, according to police, who are not releasing the driver's name.

Emergency responders came to the scene of the collision on the morning of March 17 and Andre was transported to the hospital, where he died. An 8th grader at Graham, Andre is being remembered by family and friends as an outgoing kid who loved sports and couldn't wait to start school at Mountain View High in the fall. His death has led to an outpouring of community support, including a GoFundMe campaign that has raised over $123,000 for his family.

"The fatal collision that claimed the life of one of our young community members is not one we will soon forget," the police department wrote. "Like you, we have been struggling to comprehend that day."

To determine what happened, traffic investigators reviewed footage from video cameras at the scene, conducted interviews and studied the crash site, according to police.

"We, the Mountain View Police Department, appreciate the patience our community has given us as we conducted a meticulous, detailed, and rigorous investigation," police said. "It is not easy to be patient as this work is completed we know the wait can be difficult."

The intersection of El Camino Real, Grant Road and State Highway 237 has been among the most dangerous in Mountain View. Data from 2018 shows that there were 18 crashes at the intersection in the first half of that year, the most of any intersection citywide.

The city is working with Caltrans, the state agency responsible for El Camino Real, on plans to repave the road in 2023 to add bike lanes, high visibility crosswalks and other safety improvements, according to Mountain View police. The changes will include improving the intersection of El Camino, Grant and 237, police said.

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