JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Florida Highway Patrol is looking for an SUV that is believed to have struck and killed a woman who was walking to a convenience store Monday night on Normandy Boulevard, near Herlong Airport.
Investigators said her body wasn't found until about 6:45 a.m. Tuesday. Her death is being investigated as a possible hit-and-run of a pedestrian.
All westbound lanes of Normandy at Lamplighter Lane were closed for five hours while the Florida Highway Patrol, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigated.
The victim was identified by FHP as Rebecca Ann Gomez, 33, of Jacksonville.
A man at the scene told News4Jax that Gomez was his girlfriend and the mother of three children. He said Gomez went to the BP station at the corner Monday night and never returned home.
He became even more concerned when she didn't reply to his texts.
"She usually carries her cellphone with her, and her ID," Daniel Johnson said. "I don’t know if somebody took it or they can’t find it."
Frank Brown, a neighbor and friend, was devastated when he heard that Gomez was killed.
"She loves her kids. She loved her family, her sisters," Brown said. "How are they going to take this?"
"It's a tragedy," resident Chad Gibbons said. "I live here, and my kids. You know, people walk this way. If people are not paying attention on the road, that could be me and my kids."
Troopers said they were looking for a 1994-1998 Chevrolet Suburban or Chevrolet Tahoe, possibly yellow, that was in the area about 11 p.m. Monday. It would likely have damage to the front right of the vehicle. They ask anyone with information to call 904-301-3700.
"I hope they get caught and justice comes to them," Johnson said. "Especially somebody who has three kids."
Gomez is the sixth person killed in a hit-and-run crash in Jacksonville so far this year.
News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said Jacksonville is one of the most dangerous cities for pedestrians, and Gomez's death should remind people to take extra precautions when crossing the road, which is even more dangerous after dark.
"Wear bright clothing, something that's reflective, because sometimes drivers ... they may not be fully awake," Smith said. "Be visible to people as much as possible."