Sarasota woman hit and killed by car while mowing county grass

6:31 PM, Aug 7, 2012   |    comments
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Sarasota, Florida -- A Bay area woman tried to be a good citizen and help out her neighborhood's appearance. Andrea Rody's neighbors say she paid for her act of kindness with her life.

Sarasota County workers are responsible for mowing public medians and right of ways along a stretch of McIntosh Road. But as the weeds and grass grew across the county, so did the frustration for Lake Sarasota homeowners.

That's when Rody, 45, decided to mow the median off Mauna Loa Boulevard and Bikini Way herself.

It was a decision that proved to be deadly.

Around 9:30 Monday morning, Rody was mowing the median when a county worker came to her and said a work order had been put in to finish the job. But Rody reportedly said she wanted to finish it herself.

Moments later, she was hit by a 2001 Lexus driven by 20-year-old Samantha Lax. Rody died that afternoon at Bayfront Medical Center.

"The county is responsible for the median. It's their property. They are supposed to maintain them," says resident Teisha Farrington. 

But does she think county officials are responsible for Andrea's death?

Teisha says, "Most probably. She would not be out there with a lawn mower and weed whacker."

"We are deeply saddened at the loss of one of our citizens, who was making effort to contribute," says Sarasota County Commission Chair Christine Robinson.

Robinson said the previous mowing company abandoned its contract in early May and by law, the county had to go through a bidding process to hire a new one.

"In the meantime, the county was trying to absorb the mowing with not enough people or equipment. It was a temporary situation while we went out to bid," explains Robinson.

Lake Sarasota homeowners say Andrea's death sheds light on an ongoing problem in their neighborhood.  They say there's a high volume of speeding cars on Mauna Loa Boulevard, where the speed limit is posted at 25 mph. 

Florida Highway Patrol troopers said the case is being investigated by the traffic homicide unit.

County officials restructured the mowing program and divided the county into four areas, with a private company contracted for each one. County leaders say it will take a month to catch up on the work.

Sarasota County residents interested in the mowing schedule can go to www.scgov.net or call 941-861-5000.

Isabel Mascarenas

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