West New York grieves for hit-and-run victim taken too soon


“Very sad ‘cause she’s in the same class that I used be in first grade,” says nine-year-old Genesis, Sheyla Pichardo’s schoolmate.

“When I came out of school and discovered it (her death), I came crying here.”

Everyone is feeling the weight of the heartbreak.

“It’s very tragic for me to think of the little girl,” says West New York resident, Marta Taborda through a translator. “The other cars, people are driving need to be more careful.”

Violence can cause great reflection.

“It was very scary for her and her mom but I think she’s with G-d now and G-d is gonna protect her,” says 10-year-old Jefferson, another Sheyla schoolmate.

When it comes to the suspect, he says the police need to teach Fabian Rodriguez Calles a lesson.

“About not to kill kids with a car,” Jefferson says.

Ivan witnessed the traumatic incident.

“I couldn’t do anything,” says the 11-year-old, another Sheyla schoolmate. “I saw her right on the ground.

“It’s dangerous what happened. It was really sad. I feel bad for the parents.”

The coldblooded actions of one man hit home.

“Really, really hurtful, not just for the parents. I can just imagine how they are at this moment,” says West New York resident, Jessica Merino.  “I mean, I’m a mother and I could just be put in their shoes.

“I think it’s really, really, really sad ‘cause she was just a little girl. She was just beginning to live life.”

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Jillian has a passion for news, giving voice to the voiceless and telling stories that make an impact. A New Jersey native, she spent the past two years as a multimedia journalist/one-man-band at WTAP-TV, the NBC affiliate in Parkersburg, West Virginia, where she covered everything from meth busts to fracking to the homeless to a young man struck by lightening. She was her news director’s “go to health reporter” and also covered many education and political stories. She frequently interviewed the mayors of Parkersburg, Vienna and Williamstown, WV and Belpre and Marietta, Ohio. She interviewed OH Gubernatorial Candidate Ed Fitzgerald and OH Congressional Candidate Jennifer Garrison, as well as WV Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and WV Senator Joe Manchin. Jillian was a regular fixture at the local police, sheriff’s departments, prosecutors’ offices and courthouses. Many looked forward to her ‘Mom of the Month’ series. Her story about two women who lost their children to heroin was widely recognized, along with her much loved piece on the Battle Against Cystic Fibrosis band camp. In her free time, Jillian enjoys yoga; working out, live music, spending time with friends on both coasts and the Mid-Ohio Valley. Follow on Twitter @JillianRis



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