SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A toddler was hit and killed by a vehicle on Pine Street in Modesto. Police say the man responsible left the scene right after it happened.

CBS13 is learning the young girl made an impact on the community even at a young age.

A makeshift memorial has been created for 2-year-old Yajaira Mendez and continues to grow as do emotions as neighbors and her family try to cope and understand just how this could happen.

“She was a little two year old; a little innocent, little girl so beautiful and so nice to everybody,” said Ray Michel, a neighbor.

At just two years old, it seems Yajaira made a lasting impression. Even the older kids loved to be around her.
“Whenever my friends aren’t there, she always plays with me,” said friend Monica Ajlux.

Yajaira was outside on her scooter on Friday night at around 8:30 when, investigators say, Remedios Chaidez was behind the wheel when his car hit her. Police say he ran from the scene, but they found him at a nearby home, and they say he had been drinking.

“After he hit her, he just ran straight in the house like nothing happened,” said Michel. “Like straight hit her and acted like nothing even happened.”

Yajaira was rushed to the hospital, but the injuries were so severe she died not long after.

Neighbors are clearly feeling the pain — especially Michel. He is close to Yajaira’s father and he was also helping the accused move into a home on this very same street.

“I saw her on the floor. Her dad was holding her and she was all bloody and all that,” he said.

A community in mourning is coming together in tragedy and remembers the girl who had a way of making everyone smile.
“We are just going to miss her a lot,” said Ajlux. “We are going to miss her very much.”

And so understandably haven’t been home here since this morning. Neighbors say they’re staying with family and believe its possible they may move after what’s happened.

And we did put in a request to speak to the man accused, however he turned down an interview.

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