JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – An 18-year-old student at Ed White Military Academy of Leadership died Tuesday morning after she was struck by a car while attempting to cross Normandy Boulevard on Jacksonville's Westside, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
The FHP said Shaqia Bryant was hit about 6 a.m. near the intersection of Normany and Lamplighter Lane. Troopers said she was walked into the vehicle's path and died at the scene.
The 21-year-old driver of the the car stayed at the scene and was cooperating with the crash investigation, troopers said. Neither the driver nor her passenger were hurt.
A friend of Shaqia's who lives in the neighborhood across the street said he saw her most mornings waiting for the bus. He said she likely had crossed Normandy to go to the BP gas station and was hit as she walked back to the other side.
Classmates knew her as Kia and described her as being nice, but quiet. They were shocked and heartbroken to learn she was killed about an hour before she was supposed to be in class 3 miles away.
Ed White sent out a robocall to parents and guardians and sent a letter home with students:
We are calling to let you know that we are deeply saddened by the unexpected passing of one of our students. Our sympathies go out to family, friends, and our entire school community during this difficult time. Specially-trained school counselors and social workers were on-site today and will be present tomorrow to students and staff to help them discuss reactions to this death. Additional support will be made available to students and staff as needed. Students may be affected by this tragedy even if they did not personally know the student. School counselors report that children usually go through the same stages of grief that adults do. However, they do not follow a specific pattern or order. Children may be shocked, numb, emotional, angry, guilty, depressed, or disorganized. These reactions are normal and with support, acceptance, encouragement, and guidance, they will begin to understand and deal with their feelings. As a result, we encourage you to talk to your children. Answer their questions honestly and simply. If you would prefer that your child not talk about the tragedy or participate in any of the grief counseling activities, please contact us at (904) 693-7620. Your child is important to our school community, and we want to do what you deem best for him or her."
Brandon Parker said he met Shaqia last weekend, and it didn't take long to know that she was a good person.
"I never met a person like her before," Brandon said. "She, like, made me feel like she wanted to talk to me. She made me feel special."
Students said it was a sad day at Ed White and that the counselors provided by the school district Tuesday were definitely needed.
15th pedestrian struck and killed in Jacksonville this year
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Tuesday morning's crash was the 48th at that intersection in just over three years, and the second pedestrian killed there.
Shaqia is the 15th pedestrian killed in Jacksonville so far this year.