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NoHo demands traffic light after girl's death

November 5, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
North Hollywood officials said they will work to improve a crosswalk where a young girl was struck and killed. "We are going to pull out every stop to get this traffic light built right now," Councilman Paul Krekorian said at a news conference on Friday.

Authorities said 12-year-old Emely Aleman and her 10-year-old cousin Angela Rodriguez were crossing Laurel Canyon Boulevard at Archwood Street on Tuesday night when both girls were struck by a Jeep Wrangler and thrown about 50 feet.

On Thursday night, Aleman was taken off life support. Rodriguez remains in critical condition.

At a vigil held for Aleman, residents demanded that a traffic light be installed where the crosswalk is located, saying had a light been at the corner, Aleman's death might have been prevented.

Aleman was a seventh grader at Roy Romer Middle school. Her classmates gathered at a makeshift memorial as they walked to school Friday morning.

"All the kids are really sad," said classmate Destiny Diaz.

What's perhaps most frustrating to many people is that this is not an isolated incident. There have been four accidents in the same area this year and three last year.

It will be several months before a light can be installed, and when it is, Aleman's uncle will finally feel some relief.

"It shouldn't take a life to save lives, but she's going to," said Gabriel Avila, the victim's uncle.

The driver, identified as 23-year-old Ian Thomas Leiner of Sherman Oaks, did stop to help the girls and called 911. It is not clear if he will be charged with a crime.


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