Submitted by Denair Unified School District
The Denair Elementary Charter Academy campus is in mourning after a kindergarten student was killed early Sunday morning when the car her mother was driving veered off a road east of Modesto. Elliana Davila was ejected from the car and pronounced dead at the scene. California Highway Patrol investigators said she was in a car seat that had not been properly secured.
“Elliana was a beautiful, sweet little girl and will be dearly missed by all who knew her,” said Sara Michelena, DECA’s principal. She sent a letter home with students Monday about the tragedy.
Elliana was riding in a car driven by her mother, Angelica Castellanos-Davila. At about 4:30 a.m. Sunday, the CHP said Castellanos-Davila was heading south on Albers Road near Milnes Road when she lost control, went off the pavement and hit a pole.
Castellanos-Davila was taken to a Modesto hospital with non-life threatening injuries. When she was released, she was arrested and booked into county jail on suspicion of DUI causing injury. Her bail is set at $100,000.
Michelena’s note to parents suggests they carefully watch and listen to how their children react to Elliana’s death. “If they want to talk, answer their questions clearly, honestly, and be prepared to answer the same questions repeatedly,” the letter advises.
Grief counselors and others will be made available on campus for students, staff and parents in the days and weeks to come, Michelena said.