Baby Dies Who Was Hit in Tragic Accident in Point Loma Crosswalk

by on March 5, 2015 · 23 comments

in Ocean Beach

The worst has happened. The 7-month baby girl  injured early Monday when she and her father were hit in a crosswalk in Point Loma has died. Her name was released: Juniper Aavang.

Juniper’s family was visiting San Diego and from Woodstock, Illinois. She was being pushed in a stroller by her father as the mother was walking in front. They entered a crosswalk on a side street off of Catalina Boulevard that goes to Canon Street.

About 6:30 a.m. on Monday, the father and baby were injured by a Chevrolet Suburban, driven by a male motorist who immediately stopped and tried to render aid.

Both the baby and father were taken to hospitals. The baby was unconscious and the father had serious head injuries. No word on the status of his improvements. Medics had taken the baby to Rady Children’s Hospital, where she died late Tuesday night.

The man who had hit them told police that his view was obstructed by something.  A small palm tree that did partially block the view of the crosswalk by motorists on Catalina – that has since been removed by city crews.

Residents complained to the media about how dangerous that intersection is and questioned the wisdom of even having a crosswalk in that location.

It’s easy to speculate that since her parents were from out of state, they were unfamiliar with that section of the roadway. It has always been dangerous in that area, as motorists speed down Catalina Blvd on their way to work in the morning rush hour time.

This is a horrible tragedy. We call on the City and the local planning committee to look into the dangers that this crosswalk may pose to unwary pedestrians.




{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

burt March 6, 2015 at 1:06 pm

I believe the mother of the child graduated from Point Loma High, and her parents lived not far from where the accident occurred, so not entirely unfamiliar with the area.


mark March 6, 2015 at 3:50 pm

Burt is correct— the mother was raised in this area and knew it well. I find it distasteful that the writer of this story branded the parents “unwary” for walking in a designated crosswalk— perhaps we should focus more on the speeding on Catalina Blvd and the apparent obstruction of the pedestrian crossing sign.


Sammy March 6, 2015 at 8:15 pm

If all the neighbors knew the palm tree was in the way, Why not get Loppers and trim it ?
It’s unfortunate that it was never trimmed.
If I was living there and driving it and seeing it, I am sure I would have got my loppers and trimmed it way back. Too bad I didn’t see it.


objamie March 6, 2015 at 8:40 pm

Here is some sympathy for the bereaved so they don’t have to read only comments that lack such.

Sorry for your loss. RIP.


Shelly Schwartlander March 6, 2015 at 9:35 pm

What a heartbreaking loss for this family visiting here. Nobody should be killed in a crosswalk. Crosswalks are for pedestrians who should be allowed to cross confidently here as they do in other cities and towns. San Diego has more pedestrian deaths than any other place I’ve known. The Sunday U-T travel section had a letter from visitors once who said the city is beautiful but “too bad your citizens try to run people down at crossings”. Any change there yet? Driver had to be distracted by more than a palm and was likely speeding.


RB March 7, 2015 at 9:30 am
PL Local March 9, 2015 at 11:05 pm


You want to turn one of the MOST historic streets in Point Loma a park?

You want the city to pour millions into a project that will end up pissing off the neighborhood?

Don’t we already have plans for a park at the bottom of Canon? Isn’t Westminster park literally like feet away?

My neighbor who is in his 90’s crosses that crosswalk at least 2x a week to get to FnE, he gets by fine, he uses common sense, and doesn’t cross when cars are coming. Yes people from the Navy and from PLNU speed down the street, I hate it too. Lets not forget this happened at 6:30am, and sadly from a local who is known for speeding to work.

I’ve grown up in PL and have used that crosswalk many of times. Should there be a crosswalk there? To understand my question you should first look at the roadway between Jennings and Wilcox (and all other southern streets) on Catalina. Since there is actually NO sidewalk there, you cannot walk there. So you are “forced” to cross. So yes there should be a crosswalk there. Should there be a roadway there? Well, duh there should be. Canon st was the 3rd official street right behind Rosecrans and Catalina in Point Loma. It has and will always be a busy street, since well, the lighthouse needs oil to burn its fuel.

I believe what needs to be done is simple. Install flashing lights in the road way and on the signs that are activated when someone presses a button. This has been proven in many cases in many cities, to stop traffic to allow pedestrians to cross safely. But, first of all REMOVE the palm tree. Don’t just trim it back.

That palm tree was never there 3-5 years ago. And since it grew there and was never taken out by the city it then grew in front of it covering it. So can everyone please tell me what is going to happen next year with this dear palm tree if it is not removed? Oh well yes. it will grow and block the sign again.



Paul Jamason March 10, 2015 at 10:31 am

I work across from Sharp Memorial hospital and use one of these flashing crosswalks to cross the street. Believe me, the cars still don’t stop. I’ve nearly been hit in this crosswalk several times as cars go 40-50MPH down the nearby hill.

Your comment is another example of the cars-first mentality of many in San Diego that is literally killing us. Design the streets to be safer and slower, and we won’t need flashing crosswalks that lull us into a false sense of security.


AM March 10, 2015 at 12:29 pm

So true. This past weekend, I had lunch at a place in Carlsbad whose seating area faced a flashing crosswalk sign. I swore it wasn’t if, but when I would witness a pedestrian get hit by a car. I’m not sure what the drivers were paying attention to, but it sure wasn’t the flashing lights on the crossing signs.

Such a terrible tragedy that can be avoided by simply slowing down as you approach crosswalks.

Condolences to Juniper Aavang’s family.


Paul Jamason March 9, 2015 at 8:20 am

The city of San Diego and many residents place fast auto flow as a priority over safer streets for pedestrians and people on bikes. This intersection, with a crosswalk placed just after a high-speed turn, is no exception. Our roads are dangerous by design.

“Roads are for cars!” I hear many say. Our streets are public spaces and are for everyone (and paid for by everyone, not just drivers). How many pedestrians have to die before we start making the same changes – Vision Zero, Twenty is Plenty – many other cities are making?


Geoff Page Geoff Page March 10, 2015 at 2:52 pm

I simply cannot believe you are using this tragic incident to push your anti-car agenda that you are so fond of. You should be ashamed of yourself.


Paul Jamason March 12, 2015 at 12:17 am

I drive a car, Geoff, so I’m hardly anti-car. But if simply asking for safer streets (because people are getting killed) is supposed to make me ashamed of myself, there’s obviously something deeply wrong with you.

Coming from someone who values abundant free public street parking over housing for their own kids, it’s hardly a surprise.


Geoff Page Geoff Page March 12, 2015 at 4:32 pm

Just about every post of yours contains this anti-car rant. This was not the place to do that. Following that with a personal insult just compounds the inappropriateness of your remarks.


PL Local March 12, 2015 at 7:10 am

I’m sorry but one person died here because most likely, he was watching his wife and not traffic. Look both ways before crossing kids, there are speeding cars out there.

How many other people die from crossing the street.

3 parties were at fault here. The guy not paying attention crossing the road. The guy speeding to work. And the city for having a tree in front of a sign.

BTW. Roads are for cars. You don’t see a heard of people walking up the I-5 to get to work.


ASHLEY March 9, 2015 at 11:25 am

Join friends, residents and family members in signing this petition to close this dangerous road and make it a family focused greenway.


Dan March 9, 2015 at 12:21 pm

I don’t understand why the driver wasn’t cited for violating the Basic Speed Law: 22350. No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed
greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather,
visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the
highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of
persons or property.


Tom 2 March 10, 2015 at 2:55 pm

The proposal to eliminate that block of Canon and make all traffic from the end of the point first make a right turn on Talbot then a left turn on Canon simply won’t work during the Navy/SPAWAR afternoon rush, and would slow the morning flow substantially.

How about the city doing the same squaring off the turn thing at Catalina & Canon as it did at Catalina and Chatsworth. That would slow cars down without completely impeding the flow, shorten the crosswalk and makes it much more visible, and put the turn onto Canon as part of the stoplight with a green arrow most of the time to keep the flow of traffic, but red for pedestrians crossing the street? [I’m not a fan of the red pavers at Chastworth; I’d prefer some prostrate vegetation.]

How about the city doing that elsewhere in the city where there are such dangerous intersections _before_ someone gets hit?


Wireless Mike March 10, 2015 at 8:20 pm

The intersection of Catalina and Chatsworth used to have the same kind of offramp-style right turn lane and crosswalk. It was dangerous because traffic northbound on Catalina turning right did not have to slow down at the crosswalk because of the gentle curve. (That crosswalk served Silvergate School and All Souls Church.) That offramp-style right turn lane was removed and drivers must now turn right at the light. The sharp right turn lane forces drivers to slow down. All of the crosswalks are now controlled by traffic signals. The location of the old offramp is paved over with red cement. (Visible on Google Earth at 32°43’50.13″N 117°14’35.08″W)

The same thing could be done easily at Catalina and Canon Street. Northbound traffic turning right onto Canon St. would have to stop at the existing light and wait for pedestrians to cross before making a sharp right turn. All crosswalks would be controlled by traffic signals. It would only require a minor reconfiguration of the intersection to realign the right turn lane and route that traffic through the traffic signal.


PL Local March 10, 2015 at 11:38 pm

Isn’t there also a same situation over by the high school at the top of Voltaire and Chatsworth.

I also like this idea and am all for it. There is no need to close down an entire street just because of a crosswalk.


Wireless Mike March 11, 2015 at 6:56 pm

Voltaire and Chatsworth is different in two ways:
1) The right turn lane to Voltaire is a full 90 degree turn, which forces vehicles to slow down. The right turn lane to Canon is only about 45 degrees and much more gradual, allowing vehicles to speed through it.
2) The crosswalk at Voltaire is controlled by a traffic signal and a walk/wait signal. The crosswalk at Canon has no signal.

That would be another option for Canon Street. Leave the lanes aligned as they are now, but add a traffic light on the right turn “offramp” and a walk/wait signal at the crosswalk. That would not prevent drivers from speeding through the light (like a hard right turn would do), but a red light would be more likely to get drivers to stop than a pedestrian stepping off the curb.

These intersections were originally designed back in the horse-and-buggy days.


Geoff Page Geoff Page March 11, 2015 at 8:38 am

Excellent suggestion. The other possibility would be to move the crosswalk to mid-block between Catalina and Talbot. They did this in front of OB Elementary.


Tom 2 March 12, 2015 at 10:52 am

Upon further reflection, this solution (and any solution) may be difficult or impossible for the city to implement. Canon St. is a State Highway (CA 209 is Rosecrans to Canon, and I think continuing on out Catalina to the south), so CalTrans has jurisdiction, not the city. And, state highways have different standards that emphasize vehicle flow. Perhaps Zapf’s staff can get CalTrans and City of San Diego traffic engineers to meet about this intersection, although I don’t know what leverage or clout they might have with CalTrans?


PL Local March 12, 2015 at 7:04 am

Lets all not forget that if we close down Canon st. where is all the traffic going to go?

I’d hate to see all the Nazobos redirect traffic down my street. Those fuckers don’t care about locals at all and are worse than the military.


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