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The man behind the wheel of a car that fatally struck an 11-year-old girl in Moroni last week has been charged with failure to yield and driving without a license.
Moroni Police Chief Tim Hunsaker also confirmed Tuesday the 53-year-old man is a Mexican national in the United States illegally. "He will be tried on the charges and, I understand, then faces deportation," the chief said.
Hunsaker said his investigation did not support more serious charges. The man was traveling less than 25 mph when he struck and killed Heather Dawn Christensen Nov. 4 while she was riding her bike to Moroni Elementary School.
"We still don't know why he didn't see her and neither does he," Hunsaker said. "This appears to just have been an unfortunate accident."
The girl's mother, Ruth Christensen, told The Salt Lake Tribune earlier that she has already forgiven the driver, and that she, too, believes her daughter's death was "a tragic accident" for which "I hold no ill feelings."
As for some angry community commentary about the driver's immigration status, Christensen countered that it did not matter to her. "We are all human beings and have tragic accidents," she said.
Hunsaker said that while the driver is in the country illegally and did not have a driver's license, he did have insurance. "They are stepping up and handling things," he said.
The girl was riding in an unmarked, but commonly used crossing area when she was hit. She was taken to Sanpete Valley Hospital in Mount Pleasant and then flown to Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City, where she died.