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Jacksonville family pushing for change after deadly accident

Teen has to cross same road where her mother was hit, killed

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – One month after her mother was hit and killed while crossing the street, a Westside teenager still has to cross that same road to get to her bus stop.

Her family is upset and pushing for change to prevent another tragedy on Jacksonville’s busy roads.

Joeann Lawrence was hit by a car while riding her bicycle across 103rd Street near Old Middleburg Road. The cross and flowers facing 103rd Street have stood there for nearly a month since her death.

Her 14-year-old daughter now crosses that same road every day because it’s the only option for her to get to school, according to Lawrence’s brother, Jonathan Nelson.

Nelson said there isn’t a crosswalk nearby, and he has watched many kids, including his niece, cross the street in the dark to get to their bus stop. He’s very concerned that a similar tragedy will happen to another family.

Nelson said he’ll never forget the day he lost his sister.

"It's been tough. I mean, what else can you say? Everybody keeps expecting her to come back in the door," Nelson said.

Knowing that his niece has to cross that same road adds frustration and grief. 

"I'm sure it plays in her mind a lot. She hasn't really talked about it other than she doesn't like doing it. I can't say I blame her," Nelson said.

Both Nelson and his niece fear there will be another accident- especially with so many children in the area. The neighborhood includes Deer Pointe Mobile Home Park and a charter school just a couple blocks away on 103rd Street.

"Sure, there are streetlights, but they're not that good. And I'm afraid something is going to happen, a kid is going to get hit. Joeann was hit and killed," Nelson said. 

Joeann's family will gather for her memorial service next Monday. In her memory, Nelson's hope is that a crosswalk can be added. If not, his hope then is that the bus stop can be moved off 103rd Street. This way, students who live on the other side of 103rd Street won’t have to cross.


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