On Friday morning. a family didn’t get to take their little girl to school. A teacher is missing one of her star students. And children at Julius Corsini Elementary School are missing a friend and classmate.
Monique Cecilia Gonzalez was an active and affectionate daughter, big sister, niece, and cousin.
“She was outgoing, she was always happy, always helpful. She just wanted to be on top of things,” said Paola Guzman, aunt of Monique. “She was our little secretary because she would always answer the phone for my mom at home. She was just always there to help us and be there for all of us.”
On Thursday afternoon, Monique was tragically killed when a white Cadillac struck her and three other students as they were walking home from their bus stop near the intersection of Corkhill and Aurora Roads in Desert Hot Springs.
The vehicle initially rear ended a school bus from Rancho Mirage High School. The driver then proceeded to travel onto the shoulder, striking a speed limit sign and hitting the four children walking on the shoulder of the dirt road.
One victim suffered major injuries and two others minor injuries. One of the wounded victims is also a member of the Guzman family, Monique’s brother, Julio, the youngest of the victims.
“Her brother is in Loma Linda, he has bleeding in the head and has both of his legs broken,” said Guzman.
The family is still in utter disbelief of the sudden and tragic loss, knowing one of their loved ones is gone and another still fighting for his life.
“As of right now, we’re all still trying to process it because we’re all like, ‘No, she’s going to come home’… but we know she’s not,” said Guzman. “It’s just something that we can process because in the back of our minds we don’t want to believe it”
A GoFundMe has been created to support the family during this tragic time. You can support the fund by clicking the link here. The community will also hold a candlelight vigil on Saturday, Dec. 11 at 6 p.m. at the intersection of Corkill and Aurora Road in Desert Hot Springs where the collision took place.