There was a time about eight years ago when doctors weren't sure if David DeSantiago would ever learn how to communicate with others or perform simple functions after he was diagnosed as autistic.
But David thrived under therapy and ended up interacting well with family, played sports and even made a couple of friends -- something that is often difficult for autistic children to do.
"He was so full of love," said David's mother, Lorie Stewart.
David, 11, was killed Jan. 6 after he was struck by a pickup while crossing Brundage Lane. He was hit in the No. 2 westbound lane, Bakersfield police reported. The case remains under investigation.
Stewart said at her south Bakersfield home Thursday that she and David had just parked at the Society for Disabled Children and she was getting two of her other kids out of her vehicle. She thought David, as usual, had run inside the building.
She said she had no idea he had instead run across Brundage. David was crossing back over when he was hit, she said.
Stewart heard the impact. She heard a man yell "It's a kid, it's a kid!" and she called 911, not knowing it was her own child lying in the street.
She walked over to see if she could help.
"The worst frickin' nightmare of my life," Stewart said. "It was David."
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