A man hit and killed by a school bus at approximately 5:45 this morning as he drew with chalk on the surface of Reche Road in front of Potter Junior High School in Fallbrook has been identified by friends as Fernando ‘Deio’ Alcala, age 38.
“He was writing a love message to my cousin, in the street. in front of her house,” said Sarah Cowgill, who identified herself as one of Alcala’s best friends.
“He wanted her to see it before she pulled out of her driveway to take her kids to school.” The message, Cowgill said, included the words, “Thinking about the lovely lady” along with a drawing of a flower.
Cowgill said Alcala was a resident of Fallbrook, but originally hailed from Texas.
An earlier report indicated that Alcala was recognized by some at the scene as being a person with a history of drug use. Cowgill explained, “He did at one time but he has been clean for many years.”
Jayson Kendall, Cowgill’s brother, corroborated that statement. “He hadn’t been using anything for quite a few years. As a matter of fact, he regularly scolded those people he knew were still using [drugs].”
Kendall said Alcala was fond of his cousin and was “just trying to express his feelings.”
“He was fun-loving and easygoing,” said Kendall. “He was caring and loving.”
Kendall and Cowgill’s mother, Sue Cowgill, said Alcala was a “loving man; different and unique.”
“I will never meet another man like Deio,” she reflected.
Both Cowgill and Kendall said Alcala worked in the construction industry.
The bus that struck Alcala was one owned by First Student, Inc., the company contracted to transport Fallbrook High School students. No students were on board the bus at the time of the incident.
The California Highway Patrol has issued the following statement about the incident. “The man was kneeling in the center median of Reche Rd, drawing on the asphalt with chalk. Debra Balwin, age 52, of Fallbrook was driving a 2003 Ford Explorer, eastbound on Reche Rd. Gabriel Perez, age 55, of Fallbrook was driving a 2003 GMC, 25-passenger school bus, eastbound on Reche Rd, behind the Ford Explorer. Perez, entered the center median in order to make a U-turn, observed the man drawing in the center median and turned the school bus to the left. The pedestrian looked up but did not move in time, was struck by the bus and knocked into the Ford Explorer.”
A Sheriff’s unit was the first to arrive at the scene, followed shortly by paramedics from North County Fire.
“Our paramedics tried valiantly to save the man, and attempted all types of life-saving measures, but the man’s injuries were too grave,” said John Buchanan, public information officer for North County Fire.
The official identity of the victim has not been released as of yet from the California Highway Patrol or the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s (ME) Office. It’s possible that identification confirmation may be available later day, said one of the Medical Examiner’s investigators, who added that a representative from their office was still at the scene of the fatal incident at shortly after 8 a.m.
Traffic on Reche Road was greatly impacted by the early morning incident, with parents and students trying to reach Potter Junior High School. At approximately 7:15 a.m., Fallbrook Union Elementary District officials say student drop-off for the school was set up in a small parking lot on the east side of the school. Drivers were encouraged to access Reche Road from the east (with Green Canyon and Live Oak Roads being open) and to be patient during the process due to the circumstances involved.
A representative of the California Highway Patrol said he was uncertain how long the segment of Reche Road in front of the school would remain closed today due to the ensuing investigation.
Watch this site for updates to this story as they become available
Man hit, skilled by school bus while drawing in roadway
A man believed to be in his 40’s was hit and killed by a school bus at approximately 5:45 this morning as he drew with chalk on the surface of Reche Road in front of Potter Junior High School in Fallbrook. The man, wearing dark clothing, was apparently not noticed by the driver of the school bus as it was still relatively dark outside.
Witnesses at the scene said the man was kneeling in the roadway while using chalk to write or draw something on the asphalt when the bus struck him. The bus was one owned by First Student, Inc., the company contracted to transport Fallbrook High School students.
The identity of the victim has not been released as of yet from the California Highway Patrol or the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s (ME) Office. It’s possible that an identification may be available later day, said one of the Medical Examiner’s investigators, who added that a representative from their office was still at the scene of the fatal incident at shortly after 8 a.m.
While this information has not been confirmed, some on the scene that saw the victim said they believed they recognized the man as one who may have had a history of drug use.
(Earlier versions of this story)
Man killed by school bus in front of Potter Jr. High; part of Reche Rd closed; parents can drop off students in east parking lot
UPDATE: Fallbrook Union Elementary District school officials say student drop-off for Potter Junior High can be achieved by utilizing the small parking lot on the east side of the school. Due to Reche Road being closed in front of the school to Stage Coach Lane, it is not currently possible to enter the school from the west (from Stage Coach Lane). Parents should approach the area from the east on Reche Road (Green Canyon and Live Oak Roads are both open to feed into east Reche). Officials ask that parents be especially patient this morning due to the circumstances involved.
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The pedestrian hit and killed about an hour ago in front of Potter Junior High School appears to have been a man in his 40s. Apparently while it was still dark, this man was kneeling in the middle of the road on Reche. He was using chalk to draw designs on the asphalt and wearing dark-colored clothing. A Fallbrook Union High School District bus driver, traveling Reche Road, wasn’t able to see the man before it was too late, unofficial sources said.
There is still no name available for the deceased. Some witnesses at the scene said they recognized him as a person they thought may have had a history of drug use.
John Buchanan, public information officer for North County Fire said when paramedics arrived at the scene, they began life-saving measures in an attempt to revive the man, but he was pronounced dead at the scene about 15 minutes later.
We will update as information becomes available
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A sig alert has been issued of unknown duration. Reche Rd. is closed between S. Stage Coach Ln. and Green Canyon in both directions.
The pedestrian that was hit earlier is confirmed to be a fatality. The age and identity is not yet known. We will update with more information as it becomes available.
A pedestrian has been hit by a bus at 1743 Reche Rd. in front of Potter Jr. High in Fallbrook at about 5:45 am this morning. CPR was in progress in the middle of the road and, according to the CHP, the pedestrian is not moving and may be a fatality.
We will keep this story updated as we learn more.