The accident at East 18th Street and Cavallo Road likely was caused by one of the drivers running a red light. Which driver ran the light is under investigation because of conflicting statements made to police, Lt. Pat Welch said.
Sarai, 10, was sitting in the front passenger seat of a 1993 Plymouth Sundance that was broadsided in the busy intersection by a Toyota 4Runner driven by a 71-year-old man. He and the 22-year-old woman who was driving the Plymouth suffered minor injuries.
The girl was a student at Turner Elementary School, where a crisis team mobilized early Wednesday morning to break the news to her classmates.
"It was a tough day," said Charles Miller, assistant superintendent of elementary grades in the Antioch Unified School District.
He and other district administrators hastily assembled several school psychologists who, along with Miller and the school principal, spent time talking with school employees and the students who had known Sarai.
Miller said they also visited the girl's home to pay their respects to her family.
"In my 21 years of education, this was one of my toughest days," Miller said, explaining that unlike other student deaths he's had to deal with, this one struck out of the blue.
Shocked and saddened, youngsters in Sarai's class drew pictures and wrote notes that the district will deliver to her home at the end of the week, Miller said.
Reach Malaika Fraley at 925-945-4782 or firstname.lastname@example.org.