A truck driver struck and killed his young neighbor on Monday while the 11-year-old Texas City girl was waiting for a school bus near her home, authorities said.
Christina Lopez, 11, was hit shortly before 8 a.m. along the 2900 block of 26th Street.
There are no sidewalks along the narrow road where Christina, a sixth-grader at Levi Fry Intermediate School, was hit.
The driver, 45, was on his way to work when he turned south onto the street where Christina was waiting by herself.
The truck was not pulling a trailer at the time. The driver remained at the scene after striking the girl and did not appear to be intoxicated, Texas City police said.
Family members described Christina and a vivacious and caring child who dreamed of becoming a veterinarian.
Neighbor Adelina Moreno said she often saw Christina sitting on the street waiting on the school bus.
"For the safety of the kids, they should have a bench or bus stop," Moreno said.
She also said 18-wheel trucks should be barred from the neighborhood because the streets are so narrow.
The truck driver cooperated with police and consented to provide investigators with a sample of his blood to determine if he was impaired at the time.
Christina's father, John Lopez, said he couldn't understand why the truck driver hadn't been charged and arrested.
"There was negligence on his part," Lopez said. "There was a yield sign there for a reason and he evidently didn't yield it. He ran her right over."
Texas City police said glare from the morning sun and driver inattention may have played a role in the girl's death. But, they said the official inquiry is continuing.
No one answered the door at the home where the truck driver reportedly lived. Someone placed a photograph of Christina and her family on the doorstep.
Christina was killed only three houses down the street from her home. Later Monday, her mother, Nina Lopez, stood outside trying to make sense of the tragedy.
Family members weren't notified about her death until Texas City police and school district officials arrived more than an hour later.
"The whole time she was laying on the ground dying, I was inside," Nina Lopez said as her husband held her. "They wouldn't even let friends of the family come and tell me she was on the ground."
The fifth- and sixth-graders in the Texas City Independent School District are students at Levi Fry Intermediate.
Christina was a member of the school's cheerleading "Spirit Squad." Of the 98 girls who tried out, she was among three who were chosen, her mother said.
"Of course we are devastated. She was a good student and well-liked by her peers," said Melissa Tortorici with the school district.
"Our hearts are aching for her family, her teachers and all her friends," Tortorici said.
Texas City ISD officials sent letters home Monday letting parents know about the girl's death.
The district will have additional counselors on campus Tuesday to offer assistance for grieving students and staff.
"The whole community is going to suffer. Everybody knows somebody who knows her," Tortorici said.