SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — A community mourns the death of 7-year-old Destiny Gonzalez, killed Monday night by a woman police say was driving drunk.
48-year-old Sandra Zemtsova of West Springfield was back in court today, now charged with Motor Vehicle Homicide. Meantime, Destiny’s school is remembering her as a gifted, kind little girl. “This is a little girl who was well liked by everyone. Smart little girl who loved to read, and it’s just so sudden and so tragic,” says Azell Cavaan, a Springfield Public Schools representative.
But just three days after 7-year-old Destiny Gonzalez was struck and killed by alleged drunk driver Sandra Zemtsova, dozens of people were seen making the same dangerous walk across State Street. “It’s a dangerous spot because when people are traveling west they are coming down the hill, which their speed goes much faster when you are going downhill. It is a problem, people have to be really careful,” explains Springfield Police Sgt. John Delaney.
When coming out of the library, the only crosswalks are at Chestnut Street or up the hill at Elliot Street.
At the time of Monday’s accident, some say a key streetlight was not working. Mayor Domenic Sarno requested the power company to investigate while DPW heads review if a crosswalk, lighted areas, or other improvements are needed.
“This is not going to bring back Destiny the seven year old, and it just breaks my heart having young daughters,” explains Mayor Sarno, “What do you says when a seven year old passes away in such a tragic situation?”
The mayor cautions that if changes are made, the accident must serve as a painful reminder for everyone to be cautious, “Two other things are important about educating people when they are in their vehicle. Traffic flow and also educating pedestrians about how to cross the street and using proper areas available.”
Flowers and teddy bears mark the spot where 7-year-old Destiny Gonzalez was killed Monday. She was leaving the city library with her mom and cousin when police say all three were hit by Zemtsova.
Springfield Police Sgt. John Delaney reports, “The woman was driving down the street, hit them, didn’t even break before they got hit. We estimate the speeds being 42 mph.”
Investigators say Zemtsova failed field sobriety tests, “The Springfield police officers that did the investigation were distraught. We’re humans, we have kids,” explains Sgt. Delaney.
All three people were rushed to a local hospital. Destiny died Wednesday morning sending a shockwave through the girl’s school, Brookings Elementary. A trauma and crisis team exists within the school department and it’s now in place for any students and staff who need counseling here at Brookings.
“The principal has been amazing in being a sense of support to the staff and students, she has spoken with the staff as soon as the news was found out. Communicating with the students in an age appropriate way,” notes Cavaan.
Destiny’s mom and cousin are still recovering from their injuries. There is no word on funeral arrangements.