Tampa crosswalk may come to area where 8-year-old Jayla Shubbar was hit and killed

6:38 PM, Feb 4, 2013   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida -- There may soon be some action taken in the case of  of a little girl struck by a car crossing Busch Boulevard on Sunday.

8-year-old Jayla Shubbar died overnight from her injuries.

Neighbors say something's got to be done. All day long, people are darting across the busy road because there's no crosswalk within any reasonable distance from here to make it across safely.

But there used to be, and there may be again.

Understandably distraught, Jayla's mother Darcy asked for time to grieve on Monday. "I cannot take this today," she said.

Neighbors visiting to console the family say it's a pity.

"Both beautiful girls and I feel sorry," said Isodoro Ayala who lives across the street. Jayla's older sister was with the girl when she was struck.

"Oh my God, I'm sorry. We pray," added his wife Blanca.

Everyone seemed to remember Jayla as a bright, pretty, smiling little girl. She was a Girl Scout and "fashion diva" according to one of her classmates.

At Sulphur Springs Elementary, crisis counselors worked with Jayla's classmates who'd become aware of what happened. Several students used artwork to express their grief.

The crisis team members "ask the children to talk about what they remember about Jayla and they give them an opportunity to write notes to Jayla or to her family," said Linda Cobbe, spokesperson for Hillsborough County Schools.

Investigators say Jayla and her 12-year-old sister Jasmine were trying to cross Busch Boulevard at 14th Street to reach a BP convenience store. It's a dangerous dart across six lanes of busy traffic that people can be seen attempting over and over again.

Part of the issue is that there's no signal here and no crosswalk.

The City of Tampa confirms there used to be one there, but it was removed in 1993.

Pablo Garcia, who operates the BP convenience store, says his customers would have to go six blocks west to Nebraska Ave. or eight blocks east at 22nd Street if they wanted use a real crosswalk.

That's just unreasonable, he says.

"I think they should come out here and put a light out there like they had 20 years ago. Now we got three times the traffic and no light," he said.

Garcia described Jayla as "a little sweetheart."

"We'd see her every day, and I am upset about it," he said.

The Florida Department of Transportation says it's in negotiations with CSX -- which owns the railroad lines that run along Busch Boulevard -- to purchase part of the easement for a pedestrian crosswalk at 12th Street. If they can get that easement, they say they should be able to have it done in as little as three months.

It's too late for Jayla's case, which is being called a tragic accident. No charges are expected to be filed.

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