Family, friends mourn after West High student killed after being struck by 2 cars
WESTWOOD, Ohio (WKRC) - Police are investigating after a pedestrian struck by two cars in Westwood Monday morning has died. Cincinnati Public Schools identified her as Western Hills High School student, Gabriella Rodriguez, 15.
Rodriguez was a freshman at the school.
Rodriguez was crossing Harrison Avenue near Sarvis around 7 a.m. to catch the bus when she was clipped by the side mirror of one car and fell to the ground. She was then hit by a second vehicle that did not stop. Police are looking for a white Toyota Corolla with Ohio tags -- possibly an older model.
Cincinnati Public School officials say they have a crisis team at the school for students or staff who may need to talk.
Rodriguez's death is hitting her friends and family the hardest.
Seventeen-year-old Kendale Hunter is in shock and disbelief after his best friend since elementary school died Monday morning.
"Hearing that she's gone, knowing that she's gone, knowing that I can't call her "best friend" anymore -- I can't shoot her a text like, 'You need your braids done?' or anything. She's gone," Hunter said. "Gabby was a magnificent person. She gave everybody that she had --she gave everybody her last change. It was you before it was her."
Hunter wants that person who left Harrison Avenue after hitting his friend to turn themselves in.
"It's pitiful just running around knowing that you got that guilt on your back: Oh my God, I killed somebody. Whether you hit them first or you hit them second, you still had a part of that murder. And it's unsolved until you are found," Hunter said.
Lauren Worley said her brother may have been with Rodriguez at the time of the accident. Worley said her family was with her at Children's Hospital.
Western Hills High School Principal Carlos Blair said Rodriguez was an excellent student and star softball player, who was very popular. Blair says Rodriguez was not only a star softball player, but an advocate. She convinced faculty members to revamp a field for her team.
"We're taking it pretty hard. We're all trying to just come together and support each other during this time," said Blair. "She was very outgoing, humorous. She was very direct, as I stated. She was the type of student who would just tell you the way it was. And she would crack a lot of jokes. Many of the students loved her dearly and so did the staff."
Hunter says his best friend was one-of-a-kind.
"Anytime I see her, she would always put a smile on my face, so I know what everybody's going through, so just think highly of her. Think about her like she's looking down on us. Like, 'Look at them; they actually do care,'" he said.
Police say Rodriguez was not in a crosswalk when she was hit. Harrison Avenue was closed in both directions while police investigated.
School leaders are looking to see if more crosswalks need to be added in the area.
Worley said police are asking for anyone who saw the accident or has any information to call Crimestoppers at 352-3040.