SACRAMENTO COUNTY (CBS13) — “Dealing with the fact that I will never see him has been the hardest thing ever,” said a grieving mother who lost her son and granddaughter the same night.
Nearly one year ago, the bodies of Karla Jackson’s son 23-year-old son Kyler and her 1-year-old granddaughter Kaylee were found in the Sacramento River.
“My grandbaby will never get to grow up and have a life,” she said.
A memorial now stands where their car plunged into the water along a narrow levee road with a 90-degree turn.
The area has rumble strips to warn drivers, but no guardrail to keep cars from running off the road.
“It happens all too often out here,” said Rick Wortham who helps run the Romeo Bait & Tackle shop on Highway 160.
He said people constantly speed and there’s only two options, hit the guardrail or a tree and even then, sometimes there’s no guardrail.
Why do some sections of delta roadways have guard rails and others don’t?
Caltrans said it has installed guardrails along most of Highway 160, but it is not required to install along other levee roads that are maintained by counties and private landowners.
“Those guard rails are very effective with keeping cars on the roadway. Most of the cars that end up in the river end up going in a location where there’s no protection,” said Officer Michael Bradley with the CHP.
And with summer heating up, locals fear more tragedies.
“You hit a big hole and you over correct and you’re gone. You’re going into the river,” Wortham said.
Kyler and Kaylee were missing for days before their car was finally found. Investigators ruled it an accident, but Karla is not convinced a guardrail could’ve saved them that night.
There were no eyewitnesses and she still questions what exactly happened. Was it an accident or was it made to look like one? She’s even hired an investigator to see if there was any foul play.
It’s a horror she hopes no other family ever has to endure.
“Them missing, in general, is torturous and for anyone missing a family member who didn’t come home, but you expected them to come home, it is torture,” Karla said.
A memorial service will be held in Oakland May 27 at the Youth Uprising Community Center to celebrate the life of Kylee and Kaylee from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.