People from all across the Redondo Beach community came together at 28th Street and The Strand in Manhattan Beach on Saturday to pay their final respects to 7-year-old Jeremy Perez, who was at the in North Redondo Beach on Artesia Boulevard while riding his bike on Aug. 5.
Redondo Beach firefighters who helped Jeremy that day, policemen, teachers, a school principal, business owners, neighbors, friends, family and came to share and grieve the loss of the little boy.
“We just want to thank everyone in attendance,” Jeremy’s brother Joshua Perez said. “The amount of people here today just shows us how many people loved Jeremy and how many people’s lives he has touched. Thank you.”
Jeremy was killed in the Albertsons parking lot when a delivery truck backed over him as he was going to visit his mother, Trina Goodwin, who had just begun working at the store four days earlier. Goodwin was in the store at the time of the accident.
One of Jeremy's neighbors, Eric Marshall, is leading an effort to convince Albertsons to change the layout of its parking lot. He offered the following statement:
“I think there is a misperception that has been put out there by Albertsons or the media.
“The media reported that he was riding his bike in the loading dock area which is only partly true because what it doesn’t say is that the loading dock area is where Albertsons forces pedestrians to go.
“If you live in this area and you attend this Albertsons then you know that there is no place for pedestrians to go without being forced into the street with cars.
"If you enter through Rindge [Lane] you have to walk the length of the parking lot where cars are coming and going, if you enter through Artesia then you have to walk through the parking lot and deal with cars entering or leaving Artesia Boulevard, and if you enter through Mathews [Avenue], which is by far the safest and shortest route, you must pass through the outside edge of the loading dock.
“Albertsons put a cutout in the wall along Mathews so that pedestrians may enter that way, which happens to be located by the loading dock area. That seems like a recipe for disaster. Where do they want pedestrians to go? I think that this was an accident that was waiting to happen and something needs to be done to prevent a future tragedy.”
In response to the accident, Albertsons has placed cones in front of the pass through on Mathews and the three closest parking spaces next to the wall, and are now having an Albertsons employee help delivery trucks as they back in with their goods.
“It’s a temporary fix, but cones are not going to stop people,” Marshall said. “We need a permanent solution. I hate to say it but I think that if this would have happened over in South Redondo or Manhattan Beach, that something more would have been done by now.”
The investigation into the accident is ongoing.
Those who shared memories of Jeremy told of his bright smile and great attitude. His teacher at , Amy Santa Cruz, shared the following: “Jeremy was forever happy and always had a smile. Every time I saw Jeremy, he would run up to me and say, ‘Ms. Santa Cruz do you remember me?’ and I would tell him that there was no way I could forget. He was a very special young man.”
The memorial featured pictures of the youngster placed on tables along with a guestbook for people to sign and candles to light to remember Jeremy.
“There is no way around it, this is a tremendous tragedy,” Shawn Talbott, who is a friend of the family, said. “He was a really cool kid who obviously touched a lot of lives but was taken from us way too soon.”
Editor's note: This article has been edited from its original version to clarify some details about the accident.