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Pedestrian found at fault in fatal Reche Road incident

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) has found the man who was hit and killed by a school bus at fault for his death that occurred early morning February 26.

Fernando 'Deio' Alcala, a 38-year-old Fallbrook resident, was hit and killed by a school bus as he drew with chalk on the asphalt on the center median of Reche Road in front of Potter Junior High School. No students were on board the bus at the time of the incident.

“No one was cited,” said CHP public information officer Eric Newbury. “There are no charges filed, or even pending. The road is not for pedestrians.”

The 25-passenger bus that struck Alcala was being driven by Gabriel Perez, age 55, and was headed eastbound on Reche Rd. behind a 2003 Ford Explorer, driven by Debra Balwin, age 52.

According to the CHP report, at approximately 5:45 a.m. Perez maneuvered the bus into the center median in order to make a U-turn, observed the man drawing in the center median, and turned the school bus to the left. The pedestrian looked up but did not move in time, was struck by the bus, and knocked into the Ford Explorer.

Paramedics tried to save Alcala, but despite a variety of life-saving measures, his injuries were too grave, said John Buchanan, public information officer for North County Fire.

“It was an unfortunate situation,” said Newbury. “It was dark, and the entire incident happened within a matter of seconds.

tried to swerve, but there was simply not enough time to react.”

Newbury said that although Perez struck Alcala, he was not at fault.

“It is not like <Alcala> was stopped in the center of the crosswalk,” said Newbury. “

was not driving recklessly. He couldn't avoid <Alcala>. Reche is a dark, unlit road and <Alcala> was kneeling on the ground with his back to the bus.”

Legally, there is no issue and Perez will not be charged, said Newbury. “Civilly, that could be a different matter.”

“When you don't use common sense, death usually is the result,” said Newbury.


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