CAMINO, Calif. (KTXL) —The death of a 14-year-old girl, who was struck by a hit-and-run driver, brought a tight-knit community even closer together in grief.
A gas station attendant at a local Chevron told FOX40 that 14-year-old Julianna Abballo bought snacks just before she was struck and killed while walking with a friend along Carson Road Tuesday afternoon.
The driver took off after the crash but eventually surrendered to authorities.
Investigators said 23-year-old Anthony B. Smith of Pollock Pines was booked into the El Dorado County Jail on suspicion of felony hit-and-run, vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence. Sources told FOX40 Smith had also been arrested a week prior on suspicion of driving drunk.
Abballo was in the eighth grade at nearby Camino Elementary School. On Wednesday, her friends brought flowers to the site of the accident.
“Say some prayers and good thoughts for the family. I can’t imagine what they’re going through, you know, cause I have two kids,” said Trina Macone.
A group of Abballo’s friends wept as they hugged in front of a wooden shack where many people stopped throughout the afternoon.
“It’s awful. Our youngest is 16 years old and I cried when I heard about this little girl,” said Rebecca Wachtman. “I can’t imagine what her family’s going through, her classmates.”
A team of grief counselors was at the elementary school Wednesday to help students and staff deal with such a personal loss.
The school district superintendent notified parents about what happened, saying in part: “Our hearts are broken and the grief we feel as a school community is beyond words, and our thoughts and prayers are with the families and all of her classmates and teachers. Camino is a tight-knit and very special community, and we will work together to get through this tragedy.”