Toddler struck, killed by AC Transit bus in east Oakland

OAKLAND (KTVU) -- Police were investigating after a 2-year-old was struck and killed Tuesday afternoon by an Alameda-Contra Costa Transit bus in the Fruitvale section of east Oakland, authorities said.

Rescue workers were called to Penniman and 35th avenues shortly before 2 p.m. on a report of a collision between a vehicle and pedestrian, said police spokesman Officer Marco Marquez. The boy, identified by relatives as Jeremiah Esera, died at the scene, police said.

Family members said the young victim did not live at the house where the accident occurred but was visiting the area from another part of Oakland.

Marquez said the bus was traveling northbound on 35th Avenue when the boy apparently ran into the street to retrieve a green ball.

Police said the boy was run over by the right rear wheel of the bus. Police placed caution tape in the area and motorists were asked to avoid the area while police conducted their investigation.

"This is a tragic and sad loss for the family and the community," said Marquez, who added that investigators are trying to determine if speed was a factor in the accident. "Officers and first responders on the scene are heart broken."

The incident involved bus Line 54, according to AC Transit spokesman Robert Lyles . The agency said the bus operator has been with the District since 1999 and said agency protocol requires the driver to undergo drug and alcohol screening as a result of the accident.

The vehicle was headed to Merritt College when the accident occurred. Witnesses said the bus driver appeared to be shaken up by the accident.

In a written statement, the transit agency expressed regret about the incident.

"AC Transit wishes to extend our deepest condolences to the family of the child involved in today's tragic event," the statement said. "We will continue to work closely with the Oakland Police Department (OPD) as they investigate the circumstances of this event."

The agency said it could not release the name of the driver because of federal rules.

A bus passenger said the occupants felt a "thumping" feeling before the bus stop and everyone exited. She said they saw a woman holding the boy and pleading for help.

KTVU reporter Henry Lee contributed to this report.