Grandpa dies after pushing 4-year-old granddaughter out of the way of oncoming vehicle

Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 4:48 PM EDT
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DINUBA, Calif. (KMPH) – A grandfather in California was killed by a car in a crosswalk while pushing his 4-year-old granddaughter out of the way to save her.

The family of Alfonso “Poncho” Rios said he was hit and killed last Friday while walking his granddaughter home from school in Dinuba, which is about 30 miles southeast of Fresno.

The collision happened at a crosswalk just a block away from their home.

“They were crossing the crosswalk to come back home; he almost came back home, but they didn’t make it,” said Ariana Garcia, another granddaughter of Rios.

Garcia said she wasn’t there when the collision happened, but her aunt called her immediately and said Rios wasn’t with them anymore.

The 4-year-old girl was flown to a nearby hospital after suffering a broken arm and pelvis. Fortunately, she has already been discharged and is expected to make a full recovery.

Garcia said the 4-year-old’s life was saved thanks to her grandpa’s selfless actions.

“If I knew I could depend on anybody, it was my grandpa,” Garcia said. “If I knew I needed somebody to just feel what I was feeling, it was my grandpa. He would always put himself in my position and everybody’s position. Everybody is just devastated.”

Garcia said Rios was the glue to their family and was the most compassionate person she had ever known.

“My grandpa was the most loving person in the whole world,” she said.

The family is devastated because they say Rios’ death could have been prevented.

“He loved his family FIERCELY, and he would have never wanted to leave them given the choice,” reads a GoFundMe page for funeral expenses. “Unfortunately, that choice was taken from him because of the negligence of someone else.”

It’s unclear if the driver is currently facing any charges.