He was struck by a 17-year-old female driver who stayed at the scene as emergency responders arrived; no charges have been filed
A 41-year-old father, who stopped to help ducklings cross a Northern California road, was killed by a teen driver, authorities said on Monday.
The tragic accident occurred on Thursday evening in Rocklin, a city just outside of Sacramento.
"The man was reportedly trying to help some ducklings that were in the intersection," Rocklin Police Department said in a statement. "As the man was in the intersection, a teenage driver was headed eastbound on Stanford Ranch Boulevard. This juvenile driver struck the pedestrian who was in the roadway."
"The driver remained at the scene of the collision," the local police department added. "Emergency first responders arrived to assist, however the man died at the scene."
The driver was a 17-year-old female. No arrest was made at the time and the driver is unlikely to face any charges. The incident is still under investigation.
"We still have a lot of areas and evidence to sort through, but at first look it does not look like there's going to be any criminal negligence," police told NBC News.
The victim was identified by the Placer County Sheriff's Office as 41-year-old Casey Rivara.
The incident unfolded in front of neighbors, who were applauding the father's chivalrous efforts -- and even taking photos (above) -- just before tragedy struck.
A 12-year-old witness told local KCRA, "He got out of the car and was shooing the ducks and everyone was clapping because he was being really nice."
"He helped them get up over the curb because all the little baby duckies were having trouble," the witness added.
"My mom rolled down the window and said, 'Good job, good job,' and I said, 'Good job' to him too and then right after that, the second after that," the child said that's when the car hit him.
"I didn't see the car actually hit him. All I remember is the sound and then him flying across the intersection," the 12-year-old said. "His shoes and one of his socks were right in front of our car."
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Meanwhile, Rivara's widow, Angel Chow, shared a message to Facebook thanking friends and family for their support.
"We have been deeply touched by the overwhelming love and support we've received for Casey Rivara and our family in these past few days," Chow said Sunday evening. "We want to express our heartfelt gratitude to all of you for the kind messages and gestures of kindness. It’s truly humbling to hear how Casey has positively impacted your lives, and we’re extremely grateful for that."
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According to a GoFundMe created by Casey's aunt, Tracey Rivara, the horrific incident was witnessed by his children.
"On May 18th, 2023 my nephew, Casey Rivara, was driving his children home after the kids' swim practice when they saw a mama duck and ducklings struggling to cross a busy intersection," the GoFundMe stated. "Casey got out of the car to help the ducks safely across the road. However, when he was heading back to the car, he was tragically struck by a car and passed away at the scene."
"Casey met Angel, the love of his life, at age 17, when she joined his high school as an exchange student from Hong Kong," the fundraiser noted. "They quickly fell madly in love and remained inseparable partners for the past 23 years. They have been blessed with two beautiful children, Sophia (11) and James (6). His family was Casey’s world, and to remain even closer to them he had recently started working at their children's school. He loved working at the school as he was able to positively impact other children."
The drive has so far raised over $76k of a $30k goal.