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S.W. Florida Daily News


Lehigh Acres Teen Walks to School Bus Stop After Hit-and-Run Incident

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The Sudden and Tragic Hit-and-run Accident That Changed a Teenager’s Life Forever

On a cool winter morning in Lehigh Acres, Florida, a quiet and serene atmosphere enveloped the small town as students made their way to their respective schools. 15-year-old Brianna Rodriguez was among the students who were walking to their bus stops, never realizing the fateful event that awaited her. Suddenly, a speeding car came out of nowhere, ramming into Brianna and leaving her on the ground with serious injuries. This hit-and-run accident has changed Brianna’s life forever, creating emotional and physical scars that remain with her to this day.

The Accident That Turned Brianna’s World Upside Down

On December 2, 2019, Brianna Rodriguez left her house as usual, ready to catch her school bus. She was just a few minutes away from her bus stop, thinking about the day ahead when she suddenly felt a tremendous impact behind her. The next thing she knew, she was lying on the ground, breathing heavily, with pain shooting through her body. A car had hit her from behind, leaving her with a broken pelvis and knee injuries. The driver fled the scene without stopping to offer any assistance.

The authorities launched an investigation, but unfortunately, they didn’t find any leads. The whole incident happened so suddenly, and there were no witnesses or security cameras available to identify the driver. Brianna’s family was devastated, and they spent days in the hospital, praying for her recovery.

The Impact of the Accident on Brianna’s Education

For most teenagers in the United States, a typical day starts with school responsibilities, classes, and peer interaction. But for Brianna, her routine changed drastically after the hit-and-run incident. She had to spend several weeks in the hospital, undergoing surgeries and recovering slowly. Brianna took a leave of absence from school for a few months to focus on her rehabilitation.

When Brianna returned to school, she found the entire atmosphere to be different. Being in a wheelchair, she struggled to navigate through the hallways and classrooms, and she felt like she was an inconvenience to her classmates and teachers. Brianna’s grades also started to suffer, and she struggled with keeping up with the pace of her classes. The accident had left her scared, traumatized, and unable to focus on her education as she once did.

The Emotional Toll of the Accident

Apart from the physical injuries, the accident left an emotional toll on Brianna. The sudden and traumatic event had created anxiety and depression levels that affected her day-to-day activities. She lost a sense of independence, and she now struggled to trust people. Brianna would often feel scared and overwhelmed, especially when she recalled the moment of the hit-and-run and would have trouble sleeping.

Brianna’s family had to spend a lot of money on her medical care. They also had to adapt to her new lifestyle by modifying their house to make it wheelchair accessible and being there for her during her rehabilitation. Her parents significantly changed their working hours to attend to Brianna’s needs, causing a significant financial burden on the family.

The Importance of Pedestrian Safety

Pedestrian safety should be a top priority in every community. The unfortunate incident that happened to Brianna highlights the importance of maintaining stable and safe roads, as well as enforcing stricter penalties for drivers who violate traffic rules. Hit-and-run accidents are serious crimes that should not go unpunished.

In addition to pedestrian safety, Florida lawmakers should also consider a comprehensive approach to transportation safety, including the support and promotion of active transportation modes such as walking and cycling. Walking has significant health benefits and can reduce traffic congestion in the long run, but it requires a safe environment and more amenities to enable people to walk comfortably and safely.


The hit-and-run accident that Brianna experienced has changed the course of her life in many ways. She has had to overcome significant challenges and setbacks to reach where she is now. But the reality is that she will never return to the life she had before the hit-and-run accident.

The importance of pedestrian safety cannot be understated. It is vital to reduce traffic fatalities and ensuring that we maintain a safe and vibrant community. Municipal and state officials need to emphasize pedestrian safety education and improve safety infrastructure to make sure that pedestrians are protected while on the roads. Such measures include crosswalks, sidewalk, and road improvements, as well as traffic calming measures.

The dream of creating a safe and vibrant community, where pedestrians are protected while on the road, is attainable. Together, we can work towards fulfilling this dream, and we can do so by advocating for effective laws, infrastructure improvement, and educating communities about the value of pedestrian safety. Let us work together to ensure that no family goes through what Brianna and her family experienced.


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