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Car accident kills young girl, injures two others

A six-year-old girl died after she and two pedestrians were struck by a car inside the parking lot of a Daly City church Saturday morning, a police sergeant said.

Police and witnesses said the girl, identified by the San Francisco medical examiner’s office as Danielle Naval, was crossing the parking lot of St. Andrew Catholic Church with her mother around 9 a.m. when the driver of a 2007 Toyota minivan lost control of the vehicle.

The minivan lunged forward and jumped a curb, pinning Naval, her mother and another woman.

Daly City resident Jose Lobo, 70, said that he and at least six people rushed over to the scene and attempted to lift the car:

“Someone had a jack and they finally got the car lifted, but it was too late.”

Sgt. Michael Barton said all three victims were transported to San Francisco General Hospital, where Naval succumbed to her injuries.

Naval’s mother and the other woman suffered life-threatening injuries and were still hospitalized Sunday morning.

The tragedy left the community in a state of shock and grief as many filed into church for the start of Sunday morning Mass.

The Rev. Piers Lahey, a pastor at St. Andrew, said the whole parish – especially children – was very concerned for Naval’s family:

“The whole parish is praying for the family. No one has experienced anything like this.”

Lahey said that Salvatore Cordileone, San Francisco’s new archbishop, offered his condolences to the congregation. Lahey also said that grief counselors will be brought in to speak to any of the children who knew Naval.

Michele Bussey, who has taught religious education for 28 years at St. Andrew, said the mood around the church was surreal and compared it to something out of The Twilight Zone:

“All I have to say right now is, be careful. Pay attention. If you have kids, tell them you love them, every day.”

Barton said the driver, a woman in her 40s whose name has yet to be released, was uninjured and remained at the scene, where she cooperated with police. Whether she faces charges, if any, remains to be seen.

Daly City police are still investigating the cause of the accident.

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