PEORIA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Peoria police are investigating after a 14-year-old boy was hit by a van and killed Friday morning.

The crash happened in front of Peoria High School at 83rd Avenue and Cholla Street at 8 a.m.

[WATCH: Students remember Peoria High freshman hit and killed by minivan]

Peoria High School officials confirmed his name is Steven Gessner and that he went to the school.

[WATCH: Neighbors mourn teen killed while walking to school in Peoria]

According to Officer Brandon Sheffert of the Peoria Police Department, the freshman student was crossing in the crosswalk with the lights flashing when he was struck by a van driving north. 

Sheffert said the driver remained on scene and the 14-year-old was taken to the hospital with severe injuries where he later died.

A moment of silent was held for the Gessner at the Peoria and Cactus High school football game on Friday night.  

Friends say Gessner was a member of the school's ROTC program and was on his way to that class when he was hit.

Students say it's not uncommon for cars to speed down the road. Peoria police say the minivan driver didn't see Gessner when he crossed.

Inez Mendoza Lopez said she saw Gessner in the road.

"I came from dropping off my girls when I heard the impact, and when I got there where the kid was thrown on the ground and saw the man who hit him and was trying to help him," Lopez said in Spanish. "We were all impacted by it. I called my husband to tell him what happened. That’s when I told him the kid isn’t moving, and I started to pray, and then the ambulance took him, and after all that, I just wanted to get out of there."

Lopez said her daughters go to Peoria High School

"Today, it was those parents; it could have also been us," Lopez said. "I have my kids there. Take precautions. They’re innocent kids. Maybe it wasn’t this kid’s fault that he died. Maybe he could have grown to be something great for someone else."

Manuel Silva lives near the crash scene and has a son who goes to Peoria High.

"It’s gonna be sad," Silva said. "I’m sure, I’m pretty certain, that [my son] probably knows this student, and I’m sure he’s gonna be concerned."

The investigation closed 83rd Avenue between Cactus Road and Grand Avenue for several hours while police investigated; the street has since reopened.

Impairment is not believed to be a factor in the crash. Police are trying to determine if speed and distraction might have played a role. 

Danielle Airey with Peoria High School released the following statement Friday afternoon:

"It is with a heavy heart that we share that a Peoria High School freshman student was killed this morning as a result of a vehicle/pedestrian accident. Unfortunately, the injuries sustained from the accident were too severe and the student passed away.

We would like to extend our sympathies to the family and all who knew and loved this child. We are truly devastated by this loss, and we send our heartfelt condolences out to the entire Panther family.

Students were informed of this tragedy by their teachers in class today. Our Crisis Response Team has been activated and is on the campus helping students and staff work through their grief. If students need support over the weekend, there are two phone numbers printed on the backside of their badges that they can call to receive support: Teen Lifeline and Crisis Line."


Copyright 2019 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.



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