Fairfield 6th grader dies after being struck in crosswalk outside school
FAIRFIELD - Terra Star Jackson was a vibrant young sixth grader at Grange Middle School in Fairfield. Her family gave the nickname "Kissy" because of how sweet she was.
But on Sunday, Terra's family was heartbroken after deciding to take the 11-year-old off life support. She never regained consciousness after being struck in a crosswalk outside school three days earlier.
"That’s the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make in my life. To make a decision to tell somebody to turn a machine off because my baby’s leaving me," Terra's mother, Barbara Jackson, said in a tearful interview outside Children's Hospital Oakland.
Jackson had dropped her daughter and her twin brother off at 8 a.m. Thursday at the school. She said Terra crossed the street to talk with some friends, and while she was in the crosswalk, she was struck.
Shortly after the collision, she got a call from police about what happened and rushed to the hospital.
"It didn’t look like her at all. She was all swollen. And I’m like how could this have happened? How could this have happened?" Jackson said.
Officers arrested 32-year-old Elena McGraw-Ogans on suspicion of driving a vehicle while impaired and child endangerment – because there were children in her vehicle.
McGraw-Ogans is due in court on Monday.
Even with the arrest, the family believes more could have been done to protect Terra.
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"There were no crossing guards there at the school. No buttons for the kids to push for the kids to push to cross the street – nothing," Jackson said.
KTVU visited the crosswalk on Sunday afternoon – and saw numerous vehicles speeding through the area. Multiple drivers failed to stop when we tried to cross at the intersection with our cameras rolling.
"I’m surprised this is the first one that has gotten hit, because the people don’t slow down," said Daniel Tatum, who lives near the crosswalk.
Terra’s family wants the city and the school to make the crosswalk safer right away.
"I do not want her life to be in vain. Something needs to be done, and I want help other children and parents from having to go through this," Jackson said.
Officials with the district did not immediately return our requests for comment on Sunday.
Jackson said Terra wanted to be a doctor, so she could help people’s hearts. The family decided to donate Terra's organs, so her heart can help another child live.
"That's what she would have wanted," Jackson said.
Evan Sernoffsky is an investigative reporter for KTVU. Email Evan at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @EvanSernoffsky