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Father of Castro Valley Toddler Killed in Crash Says He Swerved After Being Distracted

Girl's sister, 7, is being treated for major injuries at Children's Hospital in Oakland, the CHP says.

A Castro Valley toddler was killed Monday after the car her father was driving drifted across Fairview Avenue and crashed into a tree, the California Highway Patrol said.

Killed was 23-month-old Nadia Arreola. Her sister Anaiss, 7, suffered major injuries and was undergoing surgery on Tuesday, according to her father, Roberto Arreola. She is expected to survive.

Arreola, 27, of Castro Valley, was treated at in Castro Valley and released.

On Tuesday, he spoke with Patch while sitting in a wheelchair with a cast on his leg outside the ICU at Children's Hospital of Oakland.

He said Anaiss suffered a head injury and a fractured hip and could need further surgery on her spine. 

Arreola said he lost control of the car after Nadia, who was in a car seat in the back seat, dropped her bottle and he reached back to pick it up.

“By the time I looked up, I saw something on the road—a deer maybe—and I swerved," he said.

The CHP said no alcohol or drugs appear to have been involved, and the crash is under investigation, Barker said.

Anaiss' second-grade classmates at  Corpus Christi Salesian School in San Francisco are making "get well" cards for her, said Principal Sister Cecelia Henry. Henry plans to hand-deliver the cards after the last day of the school year on Thursday.

Henry said Anaiss is an honor student who just received her first Holy Communion.

"She's an inquisitive, bright-eyed little girl with always something to share," Henry said of Anaiss. "We're very distressed and everyone wants to do something to help or support the family."

Arreola describes Anaiss as outgoing and smart and said she loves to sing and spend time with family. 

About Nadia, he said, "She was just fun," describing her as a talkative toddler who was outgoing just like her big sister.

Through his tears, Arreola said, “I want to just thank all the people that have helped us out.” He began listing off doctors, paramedics and the family who dialed 9-1-1 but then he became too distraught to continue.

Arreola also mentioned Brandon Hughes and his friend, who arrived at the scene of the accident and consoled him before the fire department arrived. Arreola said without them there, he would have gone completely crazy.

"We stayed with the father till authorities made us leave," Hughes said.  "Indeed, I saw how shaken up he was, the pain in his eyes, in his voice..."

As many as 10 family members and friends appeared to be at the hospital on Tuesday morning.

Around 2:15 p.m. on Monday, Arreola was driving 40 mph southbound on Fairview Avenue near Five Canyons Parkway southeast of Castro Valley in unincorporated Hayward, the CHP said. 

Arreola's maroon 2010 Honda Pilot sport-utility vehicle drifted over the double-yellow lines into the opposing traffic lane, then went off the road onto the northbound shoulder, hitting a tree, the CHP said.

The girls were in the back seat. All the airbags were deployed, the CHP said. 

Alameda County Sheriff's deputies helped escort the ambulance down Castro Valley Boulevard to Eden Medical Center, said sheriff's Sgt. J.D. Nelson.

If you have information to share about this accident, please email Analisa Harangozo at Analisa.Harangozo@gmail.com. You can also post a comment below.

Analisa Harangozo June 01, 2011 at 01:20 AM
A note for Anaiss from everyone at Corpus Christi Salesian School. View some photos of the beautiful "get well" cards and wishes many of her fellow classmates wrote (above in this article's featured pictures) : Dear Anaiss, The whole school community prayed for you and for the eternal response of your baby sister today. We are all one with you and your family. Attached are the "get well soon" cards made by your classmates and friends. I also prepared a card in the name of all the Salesian sisters, teachers and staff. Ms. Becke made a special card for you too. This morning, we had a prayer service invoking the motherly guidance of Mary Help of Christians for your fast recovery. Get well soon. We shall continue praying for you. For us sisters and priests, we shall include you in our community prayers. We love you! Praying for you, Sr. Cecilia, FMA and all Corpus Christi sisters & priests, teachers, staff, and schoolmates
Lauren Edwards June 01, 2011 at 01:58 AM
Nice job on an emotionally difficult story, Analisa. Thanks for sharing this with everyone. No family can ever have too many prayers and well-wishers, especially when they're reeling from such a shocking tragedy.
Dana Leipold June 01, 2011 at 04:49 AM
My heart goes out to the family. There are so many times that I've driven distracted...picking up a toy that my kids dropped, or turned around to discipline my kids. I cannot imagine what the father is going through right now but if this gets back to him, I hope he'll learn that I will now change my driving habits having heard his story. It is little consolation, if any, but his story about what happened has made a difference for me. I will keep this family in my prayers.
Joshua Barton June 01, 2011 at 02:38 PM
Roberto, If you read this, my heart goes out to you and your family. I was the one who stopped and dialed 911, and one of the few who helped out on scene until CHP told me I had to leave. I just want to say I'm praying for you all in this tragic moment of your lives. I know how it is living in the area, I've almost hit about 10-15 deers myself through the Fairview area in the past 5 years, it's something you can't control or predict. I am terribly sorry about your loss, and wish there was more I was able to do. Joshua B.
Sandra Espinoza June 02, 2011 at 09:00 PM
Babi!! No tenemos las suficientes palabras para decirte lo mucho que sentimos por lo que paso, pero queremos decirte q estamos contigo, te enviamos nuestras oraciones y bendiciones para ti, para Anais y toda tu familia... Toma la mano del senor, el te dara la fuerza y la resignacion que necesitas para seguir adelante, el siempre esta junto a ti, al alcanse de tu mano, solo tienes que hacercarte a el, con una oracion y con el corazon en la mano, pues no hay nada que el senor, no pueda aceptar con su infinito amor, espera pacientemente y con fe porque la misericordia y el amor de el, nunca te abandonara, su bondad no tiene limites... recuerda que Anahis y toda tu familia te necesitan mucho, animo mijo!! Te queremos mucho: FAM. ESPINOZA VARGAS

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