Police: Big truck driver not at fault in crash that killed 15-year-old Noemi Mendez

Victim's text messaging led to tragedy, police say

OTAY MESA, Calif. - The driver of the big rig truck that crushed a 15-year-old girl Wednesday evening was not at fault, San Diego police said Thursday.

10News learned the unidentified driver will not face charges in the death of Castle Park High School sophomore Noemi Mendez.

Mendez was walking along Otay Mesa Road near La Media Road when her foot left the curb and she stumbled at the same time the truck was making a right turn. The teen's brother tried to save her, but Mendez was crushed beneath the back tires, according to police.

Police said Mendez was texting someone and not paying attention to traffic.

Many Castle Park High School students learned of her death over the school's public address system on Thursday.

"Oh my God, that's horrible," student George Jiminez said after hearing the girl with the big smile was killed.

Jiminez said a number of students took advantage of grief counselors made available by the Sweetwater Unified School District. Others went to the library to sign sympathy posters for Mendez's family.

Student Zazil Carbajal said he saw a lot of tears on campus Thursday, and he told 10News, "I didn't know her that long, but she was a great girl."

Even teens who didn't know Mendez said they cried when they heard how she died.

"I actually broke down in class, thinking about what happened," said Jennifer Hernandez, who added that she learned how important it is to pay attention.

10News learned Mendez was walking along Otay Mesa Road because her father works nearby repairing tires.

Co-workers who did not want to be identified told 10News they are devastated and are working on ways to help the family pay for Mendez's funeral.

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