Thursday morning at 6:35, 10-year-old Yaceny Berenice Rodriguez-Gonzalez was crossing the street in Fort Pierce, Florida, to catch a school bus when she was killed in what police are considering a hit-and-run.
The school bus was picking up Allapattah Flats K-8 school students at the intersection of Oleander Avenue and Skylark Drive. Fort Pierce Police Major Carlos Rodriguez said in a statement that the bus’ stop sign was up, and the lights were flashing.
Public Information Officer Curtis Jennings said the school bus driver “appeared to have done everything appropriately,” according to TCPalm. Jennings also told TCPalm that “the driver [of the offending vehicle] just disregarded all of those signs, blew the stop, made impact with the girl and just continued to keep driving.”
Rodriguez-Gonzalez’s mother and siblings were present when the hit-and-run occurred, according to St. Lucie County deputies.
The white, four-door vehicle fled the scene immediately after hitting the girl. It was reported that the car contained right front-end damage, and was found at around 4 p.m. Thursday, according to WPTV.
Rodriguez-Gonzalez was found lying unconscious in a grassy area, and was transported to Lawnwood Regional Medical Center, where she died later that day.
Rodriguez thanked the officers who responded to the scene quickly, as well as those who comforted the girl before she was transported to the hospital.
A statement from the Fort Pierce Police Department said it has identified a person of interest, and that it is “currently working in conjunction with the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office.”
In the meantime, Rodriguez suggested that owners of body shops and car washes, and people who know of employees driving similar vehicles who were late or didn’t show up to work, to be on the lookout. He urged those who may have tips to contact the Fort Pierce Police Department, and a statement from the Department said they “appreciate the outpouring of cooperation from [their] citizens and continue to request any information or leads.”
“This hits close to home,” Rodriguez said. “It’s a young lady who woke up to go to school today and wasn’t able to make it.”
“We want to find this person and take them into custody. Because think about it—they didn’t even stop to see if the person that they hit—the young child that was struck—was OK. And that hurts us all.”
Newsweek reached out to the Fort Pierce Police Department but did not receive comment in time for publication.
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