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Family of teen hit by car, Aurora Vestel, wants crosswalk changes

6:58 PM, Oct 17, 2012   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, FL -- The family of a high school student hit by a car is hoping her story will create change.

Aurora Vestel was walking home from St. Petersburg High School on Monday, along a crosswalk at 5th Ave. N. and 25th St. N., where cars are supposed to stop for pedestrians. But one driver never stopped, leaving the 15-year-old with serious injuries.

View photos of Aurora's recovery

Her mother, Dawn Masino, says the driver who hit her had little to no insurance, and the family has started a gofundme page for donations

First and foremost though, Masino would like for safeguards to be added to the crosswalk to keep this from happening to other students.

"That's always been my biggest fear, my kids crossing 5th Avenue," she says. "It feels like they're put out for a target. It's like a game of dodgeball, but with cars and humans. "

The crosswalk that Aurora and her sister, Tessa, walked along Monday evening after dance rehearsal had signage, but no rectangular rapid flashing beacons alerting people to stop. A crosswalk four blocks north, on 9th Ave. N., has those lights and a button to activate them.

Why are the two crosswalks so different? The one on 9th Ave. N. is the responsibility of the City of St. Petersburg. The state controls the one on 5th Ave. N. 

"We are going to review the crash history and also talk to local law enforcement for extra pedestrian enforcement," says Kris Carson with the Florida Department of Transportation. "We will continue to see how we can make changes in the area."

The driver who hit Aurora has been cited for failure to yield to a pedestrian.

Tessa was walking right behind Aurora when she was hit. She hopes state officials will listen to her family's story and add flashing lights to the crosswalk. 

"The kids are the future," Tessa says. "You need to protect the kids because we are the future."

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