LAKE JACKSON – Witnesses who saw an 11-year-old girl killed Monday as she crossed a street after school are upset with emergency response times. However, the victim’s family has other concerns.
Amberle Woodard was an outgoing, energetic, straight-A student who just celebrated her 11th birthday Sunday. Two days later, pink, heart-shaped balloons were still floating in Amberle’s neighborhood seven blocks from her home. However, the balloons were not decorations.
“We’re all sad,” said Heather Mangeo, who went to school with Amberle. “We all miss you.”
Heather and another classmate left school early because they were having trouble dealing with their grief. Each brought hand-written letters to place at a growing memorial on the corner of Oyster Creek Drive and Circle Way, where Amberle was hit. The memorial is the kind of overflowing of grief that Amberle’s family struggled to put into words.
“I love her and I miss her,” said Glendale Woodard, Amberle’s father. “Every morning she helped me get (her younger brother) up and dressed before I took them to school. She did pretty much everything I told her to.”
Amberle died walking home from school.
“I (saw) it,” said David Dobson, referring to the crash. “I (saw) her go underneath the front tire and the back of the truck.”
Witnesses said Woodard was in the crosswalk crossing with the walk signal. At the same time, a pick-up was turning in her direction. That pick-up had a green light, witnesses and police said. It plowed into Amberle.
“I ran,” said Kimberly Dobson, one of several witnesses who tried to help.
“(Kimberly and two others) were patting her and touching her, trying to make sure she was OK,” said Michelle Dobson. “(They said) stay with us! Stay with us! We called the ambulance! We’re getting help! We’re getting help!”
However, the Dobson’s said it took EMS 20 minutes to arrive. Police said it was more like 13 minutes.
“I want to know why the ambulance took so long,” Kimberly Dobson said.
“We had two different ambulances out on different calls at the time,” said Lt. Rick Park, public information officer for Lake Jackson Police. “So, we had to free an ambulance to get there.”
However, that is not what Amberle’s family is worried about.
“A lot of friends have been calling me, co-workers calling me, they want to do a benefit,” Glendale Woodard said.
His family did not have life insurance for Amberle. So, two days after throwing Amberle a birthday party, they’re trying to find ways to pay for her funeral.
Friends set up the Amberle Taylor Woodard Memorial Fund at Texas Dow Employee Credit Union to help pay for funeral costs. To give, call 979-297-1154 or you can deposit money into account number: 2237094.
There will be a candlelight vigil for Woodard Thursday at 7 p.m. in McClain Park in Lake Jackson. Her funeral will be Saturday at First Baptist Church, also in Lake Jackson.