Friends mourn Everett girl killed by car on sidewalk

EVERETT — Melanie Rock enjoyed her frequent talks with the neighbor girl.

Perla Hernandez, 14, loved family, soccer and vivid rainbow colors, the Everett woman said.

Perla, a Cascade High School freshman, often babysat her younger siblings and would take time out to talk with Rock. They would chat for hours.

“She was just full of life, always had a smile on her face,” Rock said. “She was the sweetest girl, nice to everyone. She was an angel. Now she is an angel.”

Perla died Friday. She was struck by a car while walking on a sidewalk in south Everett Thursday afternoon. She was a stone’s throw from her home.

A shrine of flowers, candles and balloons grew Friday afternoon near the spot where she was hit. Friends, acquaintances and strangers, many in tears, came to mourn and pay their respects.

People took to Twitter on Friday to share messages of grief for the girl, many of them in Spanish.

Friends on Facebook also posted her picture, overlaid with a text-message symbol that means a broken heart.

The Everett School District planned to place extra staff and counselors on campuses next week.

The Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office will determine the girl’s cause and manner of death.

Detectives are continuing to investigate the collision, Everett police officer Aaron Snell said Friday.

“Criminal charges, if any, will be forwarded to the prosecutor’s office for review and a charging decision,” Snell said.

The collision took place at 2:40 p.m. Thursday at the intersection of 112th Street SE and 7th Avenue SE. People living and working in the neighborhood said it is a busy stretch of roadway.

Police believe a 16-year-old Lynnwood boy was driving a Chevy Suburban when he turned left from eastbound 112th Street SE onto 7th Ave SE, Snell said.

The Chevy collided with a westbound Toyota Camry. The Camry then hit the girl and a building, and rolled. The girl was walking on the sidewalk at the time. She was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

The Camry driver, a 48-year-old Everett woman, was taken to a local hospital for a medical evaluation.

John Kim was helping a customer when he spotted the teen strolling by his 112th Street Mini Mart.

“As soon as she walked by, the accident happened,” he said.

The Camry lost control, he said, and he could hear several banging sounds. The car hit the girl, a metal railing, sheared a branch off a maple tree and shattered a window at his building. The car ended up on its top.

“The first thought was about the girl,” he said.

He and his customer ran outside, realized their worst fears had come true and called 911.

Mary Olsen, 74, lives across the 112th Street thoroughfare from the accident scene.

She stopped by shortly after it occurred on Thursday and then again on Friday.

She immediately sensed the crash was life threatening, she said.

The teen’s tennis shoes had been knocked off her feet with a hubcap in between.

“I was praying all night the girl would be okay,” Olsen said. “She just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. She was just an innocent little girl doing nothing wrong.”

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, estevick@heraldnet.com.

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