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Four-year-old Ashley Xiong was riding her two-wheeled bicycle in the middle of the road in the Dimond Estates Mobile Home Park just after 6:00 p.m. last Friday night when she was struck by an SUV. The driver of the SUV, 46-year-old Her Thao, had just turned a corner before the crash and probably could not have seen the young child in the roadway. She remained at the scene and cooperated with police. Alcohol is not suspected to have played a role in the crash, and no citations have been issued.
Reporters at the scene were able to speak with several neighborhood children who knew the small bicyclist. They were all spooked by the accident, and told reporters that they usually race through the park on their bikes to see how fast they can get. They said after this accident they would be careful to ride extra slowly through the area.
Ashley was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash and sustained head trauma as a result. Although taken to the hospital by ambulance, she was pronounced dead at 9:00 p.m. Police went back to the scene the next day and reportedly noticed several neighborhood children playing on bikes in the same area without helmets. Although a helmet likely would have had no impact in the present case, police are concerned about the neighborhood’s categorical failure to practice safe bicycling and abide by the municipal ordinance mandating helmet use for children under 15.