8-year-old girl hit, killed by car during alleged domestic violence incident

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FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE) – A young girl died Friday night after being hit by a car while her parents were involved in a domestic dispute, officials said.

The accident happened just after 10 p.m. in Fresno, California. According to the California Highway Patrol, 8-year-old Maria Ortiz was sitting in an SUV with her mom at the wheel and 51-year-old Juan Del Toro in the passenger’s seat. Investigators say Del Toro became violent with Maria’s mother, prompting her to pull over.

That’s when Maria got out of her mom’s SUV and began walking down the road as the fight continued.

Weather conditions in Fresno were not good, with dense fog blanketing the area, making it hard for Maria to see that she was walking in the middle of a busy roadway, CHP said. The conditions also made it hard for the 82-year-old driver of the approaching vehicle to see her. The driver wasn’t able to avoid impact. 

Authorities said Maria’s mother was charged for driving under the influence. Del Toro was booked into the Fresno County Jail on a misdemeanor charge of battery.  

The 82-year-old driver who hit the young girl stopped at the scene and is cooperating with investigators.

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