Teen hit by SUV near Oakleaf High School

Witnesses tell police teen unexpectedly ran out into traffic

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – A 14-year-old girl is in the hospital after, deputies say, she was hit by a car while walking to Oakleaf High School on Friday morning.

Witnesses told the Clay County Sheriff's Office Shnaida Mentor was using the overpass on Plantation Oaks Boulevard to get to school when she tried to cross the road between vehicles and was hit by a pickup truck.

Deputies said the truck was within the speed limit, but the victim was thrown 27 feet. Police said Mentor was transported to UF Health Jacksonville with minor injuries.

"Given the speed of the driver, he apparently was paying attention as best he could, but when somebody darts out from behind a vehicle, you can't see it, and that pedestrian's not looking either. It's a lose-lose," said Lt. Ron Hodges.

Mentor's family was notified and was with her at the hospital. Her mom said she had internal bleeding but is expected to be OK.

Investigators said the accident did not occur in a crosswalk or school zone and the driver remained at the scene. They said the driver will not face charges.

Oakleaf students say they cross the street all the time without using a crosswalk.

"I'll be honest, I do it myself, but usually I always make sure there's enough distance with the car," senior William Brown said. "If I have enough time and stuff, I try to be cautious of that."

"I'm guilty of it, too. Everybody does it," junior Daniel Michel said.

"Truthfully, I cross the street all the time, especially with the traffic on the other side when we're all leaving school, because we all just want to go home and we're tired," senior Brendan Carney said.

Hodges said this incident serves as an important reminder for pedestrians and drivers.

"Drivers, keep in mind, school is in, kids are crossing everywhere, and you need to try to slow down," he said. "Even though it's not a school zone, slow down. Kids are going to be kids and we have to remember that."