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Health care worker who tried to save teen: 'I just did what I had to do'

Nurse, Sandalwood residents plead for crosswalk after 15-year-old hit, killed

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A health care worker was taking her daughter to school Monday morning when the mother stopped to try to administer CPR to a 15-year-old girl who was fatally struck by a car on her way to Sandalwood High School. 

Elizabeth Ross was crossing Alden Road near Interstate 295 when a white Kia hit her about 7 a.m., according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. She was not at an intersection or in a crosswalk, police said.

Elizabeth, or "Lizzie" as she was affectionately called by loved ones, was taken to UF Health Hospital with life-threatening injuries and later died. 

Alicia Miller stopped by a memorial for Elizabeth Tuesday to drop of a teddy bear and a bouquet of flowers. Miller, a patient care technician and a mother of three, tried to administer CPR to Elizabeth moments after Monday's accident, but couldn't revive her. 

"I immediately swung into action and just kind of helped, you know, do compressions while the other woman breathed for her. It just, it breaks my heart," Miller said. "It was terrifying because, you know, I saw Lizzie just laying there and I pictured, what if that was my kid?"

Miller said if there had been a crosswalk or someone helping to direct students across the street, Elizabeth would still be alive. She said she worries it could happen again if something doesn't change. 

"It didn't have to happen. It really didn't," Miller said. "I just did what I had to do. But, it's not about me. It's about Lizzie, her life. Her life shouldn't go in vain. Somebody needs to do something about this. Somebody needs to put a crosswalk here and I hope that the city officials take heed to this and they realize, her death didn't have to happen."

Police said the driver of the car was not at fault and speed was not a factor. 

Still, Miller and the Sandalwood community want to bring safety changes to the neighborhood following Elizabeth's death, saying the crash highlights the dangerous road that they've worried about for years. 

The Sheriff's Office said officers regularly patrol the Sandalwood area. News4Jax went to the area Tuesday where Ross was killed and watched officers as they pulled over at least eight drivers going too fast. One officer said he has written at least 50 tickets on Alden Road.

The posted speed limit in the area is 30 mph.

News4Jax set up its own radar detector and clocked people driving at speeds of 47 and 50 miles per hour. Many drivers slowed down once they realized they were being clocked.

With pedestrian safety at the forefront, some neighbors said a crosswalk or more safety signals need to be installed. News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said that decision will be up to experts.

With the memorial for Elizabeth on Alden Road continuing to grow, it’s evident that many people love and miss her.

People have left many things, including a note that reads, “Lizzie, we love you and miss you. Thanks for all that you did.”

"She was that person that, if you were having a bad day or something, she could just automatically brighten your day,” Sandalwood student Samari Daniels said. “It didn't matter, you could be mad at the whole world."

Neighbors said no matter what the answer to the speeding issue may be, their hope is that something can be done to prevent someone else from being hit.

Police said the investigation into Elizabeth's death is ongoing.


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