Arlington first-grader struck and killed by vehicle

An Arlington elementary student was struck and killed by a vehicle while walking to school with her mother Wednesday morning, police said.

Sarah Brazzell, a 6-year old first-grader at Dunn Elementary in west Arlington, was heading to school shortly before 7 a.m. when she ran onto a grassy median separating the lanes of traffic on Park Springs Boulevard at Ichabod Circle, Arlington police spokeswoman Tiara Richard said.

The girl was struck by a white pickup when she attempted to cross again to go back to her mother, Richard said.

The driver of the pickup stopped and offered aid and there was no indication that speed or alcohol were factors, Richard said. No charges are expected to be filed against the driver at this time.

Sarah was taken by ambulance to Medical Center of Arlington, where she later died, an Arlington school district news release stated.

Neighbors at the Sleepy Hollow Apartments said that the intersection is dangerous. They want the city to consider adding safety measures such as speed bumps, flashing lights or crossing guards.

Some parents said the 20-minute walk to Dunn Elementary is too dangerous, in part because of a lack of sidewalks, and they opt to drive their children to school.

Neighbors said drivers often speed while driving northbound on Park Springs. Standing at Ichabod Circle, the driveway into the apartment complex, it is difficult for pedestrians to see approaching cars, they said.

"There needs to be a sign that says 'children crossing.' Anything to make them slow down," said Deborah Knight, a resident. "They fly back and forth through here like speed racers."

Neighbors who were asked about Sarah remembered the little girl who enjoyed playing on the complex's tennis courts. Sarah often played with Ja-Quaylen Silmon, a classmate at Dunn Elementary, said his mother, Sherhonda Silmon.

"She would come knock on the door and say, 'Can he come out to play?' " said Silmon, 28, who has lived in the complex 22 years. "She was a sweet little girl. We were all just crying."

Resident Yolanda Zuniga, 30, said she could see emergency crews respond to the accident from her apartment.

"I looked out the window and I saw the little girl on the road," she said. "They were doing CPR. The lady that hit the little girl, she was screaming and crying. She wouldn't stop crying."

Dunn principal Mary Helen Joeckel sent a letter to parents Wednesday afternoon informing them of the death. The school district has provided counselors who will assist grieving students, parents and staff until the end of the week, the letter stated.

"Our counselors have reminded us that it's important to allow children to express their feelings about Sarah's death," Joeckel wrote in the letter. "I encourage you to do the same."

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