Fernley Rallies Around Family Of Young Accident Victim

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FERNLEY, NV - An impromptu memorial is growing item by item, near the corner of 7th and E Streets in Fernley.

Flowers, candles and a small mountain of stuffed animals, some left by children no older than Alysia Simper.

The 5-year-old was on an outing with her sister and grandmother late Thursday afternoon.

Her sister fell from her scooter and as her grandmother stopped to help her, Alysia pedaled on down the sidewalk into the path of a car backing out of a driveway.

Fifty-three-year-old Patricia Anderson had been drinking, Tests would later show her over the legal limit.

She had, in fact, already arrived at home, but apparently was repositioning her car to make room for her husband's motorcycle.

She never saw the little girl.

Veteran officers have seen accidents like this before.

"It's an event that was a real tragedy in Fernley, but it can happen anywhere," says Trooper Chuck Allen of the Nevada Highway Patrol, adding that it only takes a moment of inattention for things like this to happen.

"We all have the responsibility to be aware of our surroundings."
Many visitors to the memorial don't know either family, but wherever they live here it wasn't far from their home and it wasn't hard to imagine the danger to their own.

"We pride ourselves on being a tight community, a family-oriented community," says Fernley resident Richard Cameron, administrator of a Fernley community Facebook page, "and when something like this happens, people tend to hang on to their kids a little tighter."

And so, on a mild day with school still closed for the holidays, one might have expected to see kids enjoying the outdoors, but Friday the streets in this neighborhood were empty.

"We won't even let ours play in the yard right now because we're scared of this happening again," says Natasha Valiska, who took her own children to the memorial.

A candlelight vigil was held Friday night at the accident scene at Seventh and E Streets.

Cameron is organizing other events to support the family including a bank account to help the family.

Donations can be made to the "Simper Family Relief Fund" at any Wells Fargo branch.