ANTIOCH -- A Black Diamond Middle School student whose life was cut short when she was struck by a car was remembered Friday as an "old soul" with a big heart, an infectious smile and a beautiful voice.
Hasanati White, 14, of Antioch, was struck and killed by a vehicle Thursday night while crossing an intersection that one resident called "a tragedy waiting to happen."
Hasanati had been living in foster care, her mother, Daronda Brown, said, but the two communicated through Facebook. "She loved music, she loved dancing, she loved singing," Brown said. "She had a beautiful voice."
The girl was crossing Hillcrest Avenue at the intersection of Hidden Glen Drive when she was struck about 6:40 p.m., according to Antioch police Sgt. John Vanderklugt.
She was airlifted to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead from her injuries, police said.
The driver remained at the scene and cooperated with investigators, police said. Several witnesses also spoke to police.
Grief counselors were on the Black Diamond campus Friday, where the mood was somber.
"Hasanati was just an old soul that, though she just came to school here this year, she made friends from all grade levels very quickly," Principal Ivanna Huthman said, noting the girl had an amazing smile. "She touched several of the lives on this campus."
The investigation will continue, but police said alcohol and the speed of the vehicle did not appear to be factors in
Nevertheless, two neighbors and a group of four people placing flowers and candles on a center strip on Hillcrest said vehicles routinely speed through the intersection, and the stretch where White was hit is extremely dangerous.
"If you're in that crosswalk at that light, it's really scary," said Jeannie Carmona, who runs a child-care service at her home on Hidden Glen Drive, about 100 yards from the intersection. "You feel like you're taking your life into your hands, because the cars go so fast."
Hillcrest bends around a curve as it nears Hidden Glen, and the posted speed limit is 45 mph. But the residents building the small shrine for Hasanati said cars rarely, if ever, keep their speed that low.
"Cars come around that (curve) flying," said Jennifer Harrison, who said she has lived on Braemer Street, just off Hidden Glen, for five years. Harrison said she also has a 14-year-old daughter and doesn't allow her on Hillcrest "because it's a tragedy waiting to happen. Cars that already are going fast speed up to make the lights. They fly when they make the turn onto Hidden Glen. It's a dangerous, dangerous intersection."
Myeisha Mixon, who came upon the wreck seconds after it happened, said the lack of cameras on the traffic lights also discourages people from slowing down. A friend of hers who declined to be identified, said the group will start a petition aimed at increasing police presence in the area.
"This is the worst thing I've ever seen," Mixon said. "Hopefully, this tragedy is the impetus for making this stretch (of road) safer."
Late Friday, several people held a candlelight vigil for Hasanati at Knoll Park, near where she was struck Thursday.