Widow of father killed while ushering family of ducklings across a busy road breaks her silence to say she is ‘deeply touched by overwhelming love and support’: Tributes paid to ‘kindness and big heart’ of ‘best husband, father and son’
- Casey Rivara was hit by a 17-year-old girl who was driving down Stanford Ranch Boulevard in Rocklin, California
- His widow Angel Chow says the family has been ‘deeply touched by the overwhelming love and support’
- The father-of-two’s ‘final act of kindness’ was witnessed by his children, who were in their parked car
The widow of a California father-of-two killed by a teenage driver while ushering a family of ducklings across a busy road says she has been ‘deeply touched by the overwhelming love and support’ her family has received after her husband died.
Casey Rivara, a 41-year-old father-of-two, was driving his children home from swim practice and had parked his car at the side of the road to usher the mother duck and her family of ducklings across the intersection of Park Drive and Stanford Ranch Boulevard in Rocklin, California on Friday evening.
He was hit and killed by a 17-year-old female driver and killed as his helpless children, Sophia and James, aged eleven and six, watched on from the family car.
In a statement, his widow Angel Chow, said: ‘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.
‘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.’
Casey Rivara, 41, was hit and killed by a 17-year-old female driver, as he ushered a family of ducks across an intersection in Rocklin, California. He is pictured with his wife Angel Chow and two children Sophia, 11, and James, six in a photograph shared on a GoFundMe created by his aunt
Angel Chow shared her thanks for the love and support she and her family had received after Mr Rivara’s passing
The father’s heroic act was caught on camera by 12-year-old William Wimsatt
A Placer County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson told NBC News the unnamed driver was cooperating, and that it was unlikely she’d be charged over the death.
Stefano Formica, a lawyer for Bond Legal told The Legal Advocate that Casey’s family may be entitled to a wrongful death claim.
‘It is almost always a driver’s duty to yield to any pedestrian,’ she explained.
‘Family members of wrongful death victims may seek damages for loss of income and companionship, pain and suffering, funeral expenses, and emotional distress following a tragic or catastrophic accident.’
Ms Chow urged family and friends to share ‘wonderful memories of Casey in a beautiful book, one that our children can turn to whenever they miss him. This book will serve as a lasting tribute to his life, showcasing the profound impact he had on those around him’.
An introduction to the book describes Mr Rivara as ‘the best husband, father, son and friend anyone could ever wish for’. It goes on to urge friends and family to ‘help us remember Casey, with his kindness, big heart, and sense of humor’.
In the aftermath of the heartbreaking incident, Ms Chow urged anyone who witnessed the tragedy to contact Rocklin Police ‘so they can do a full and fair investigation’.
‘My heart is in a thousand pieces and I don’t know how to put them back together…but I am honored to know that he left us while making positive impacts to others, even it was for animals’ she added.
Mr Rivara’s aunt Tracey Rivara also created a GoFundMe page to raise money for his family.
Writing on the site, which has now raised almost $66,000, Ms Rivara wrote in tribute to her nephew: ‘Casey was the kindest, most amazing husband and father. Even his last act in this world was a sign of his compassion.
‘The family is trying to figure out how to recover and keep going after this immense loss’ she added.
Ms Rivara described how family man Casey met the love of his life, Angel, in high school when they were just 17, ‘they quickly fell madly in love and remained inseparable partners for the past 23 years’ she wrote.
The couple shared two children, Sophia and James, now eleven and six, who attended Maria Montessori Charter Academy.
‘His family was Casey’s world, and to remain even closer to them he had recently started working at their children’s school’ his aunt wrote.
‘He loved working at the school as he was able to positively impact other children.’
Maria Montessori Charter Academy confirmed Rivera was an employee but did not want to comment further.
Rivara’s final act of kindness was captured by 12-year-old William Wimsatt, the child of another driver.
Happy family: Casey, with ‘love of his life’ wife Angel, and his two children James, six, and Sophia, 11
Casey Rivara is remembered as a loving husband and father by his heartbroken family
Speaking to 3KCRA William said: ‘He got out of the car, he was shooing the ducks everyone was clapping because he was being really nice.’
‘He helped them get up on the curb because the baby duckies were having trouble.’
The Wimsatt family thanked Rivara for his good deed, but moments later a car travelling eastbound on Stanford Ranch Boulevard struck and killed the Good Samaritan.
‘All I remember is the sound and then him flying across the intersection,’ he added, ‘his shoes and one of his socks were right in front of our car.’
‘He was the only person to get out of the car and try and help them and probably the nicest person in the entire area. It’s not fair,’ William said.
After the incident William’s mother got out of her car and comforted the man’s children who were sitting in the man’s parked car, and unfortunately witnessed the collision.
The Wimsatt family have since contributed $1000 to the family’s GoFundMe page.
Roya Rouhizadeh, the owner of the Rocklin Flower Shop across from the site of the accident told ABC News that she has noticed far more collisions at the intersection after the coronavirus pandemic.
‘Lots of people moved as a family to enjoy the area. It’s getting really crowded, and unfortunately, some people don’t pay attention when the animals pass, (or where) kids are going. We need to watch more for people,’ she explained.
Rouhizadeh plans to appeal for a ‘no turn’ sign at the next city council meeting in hopes of preventing a similar tragedy.
‘Turning when the other light is green has been so dangerous. Myself or my husband, we’ve all been in that situation. We’re turning and suddenly somebody comes to cut you off,’ she said.
Parents and relatives of children at Maria Montessori Charter Academy worked for have shared their children’s sense of loss.
Samuel Brewer wrote in the community group: ‘My granddaughter went to the school where he volunteers and said she lost her friend from the lunch room that was nice.’
Another Breanna Rybinski commented: ‘My son came home from school devastated over the news that his friend’s dad and someone who frequently helped out at the school was hit by a car last night.
‘This man from what I was told was loved by all. RIP.’
In the photographs Rivara, wearing a burgundy t-shirt, black shorts and trainers can be seen tenderly moving the ducks to safety.
Another woman, Summer Peterson, said her children also saw the scene unfold.
‘They were saying, ‘Oh, it’s so cute. It’s so nice of him.’ And then all of a sudden he was hit by a car,’ she told CBS 13.
Peterson has created a temporary memorial at the site of the crash, with locals leaving flowers, and her son brought rubber ducks in tribute to the man’s last act of kindness.
‘My son wanted to bring rubber duckies and flowers to this gentlemen who lost his life, he was a father.’
Summer Peterson’s son brought flowers and rubber duckies to honor the man killed
Police are still investigating the incident and no arrests have yet been made
Amie Grout, who arrived at the scene moments after the collision wrote on a neighborhood Facebook post about the incident: ‘It was a scene I won’t ever unsee. To all the amazing Rocklin residents flying out of their cars to help, men with shirts off ready to make tourniquets for the victim, to the men and women in their cars praying for this man, my hearts are with all of you.’
Another, Dustin Goodshall, said that CPR had to be administered.
Rocklin Police said the 17-year-old female driver remained at the scene after the accident and is cooperating fully with the investigation.
In a statement the police department said: ‘The driver remained at the scene of the collision.
‘Emergency first responders arrived to assist, however the man died at the scene. The Major Accident Investigation Team was activated and responded to the area.
‘No arrest was made, and the incident is still under investigation’ they added.
‘We would like to extend our condolences to all involved in this tragic event.’
Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact the Rocklin Police Department.
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