PEMBROKE PINES, FLA. (WSVN) - After a crosswalk crash took a tragic turn, neighbors and students came out to pay their respects at the intersection where a little girl lost her life.
At Lakeside Elementary in Pembroke Pines, second-grader Kendall Zaffino would jump rope, play games and pass notes with her friend.
“We used to talk about our secrets,” said Kendall Zaffino. “We would talk about funny jokes, and she had to answer them.”
Kendall waved goodbye to that friend Thursday when school ended, and minutes later her friend’s bike laid on the ground across the street from the school, other bikes in the crosswalk, a car up on the curb, damaged.
Police said the driver, 40-year-old Nicholas Matthews, suffered a medical emergency, blew through the stop sign and hit the little girl.
She died Friday.
“I would tell her I miss her,” said Zaffino.
Even those who didn’t know the girl came to the accident site after hearing the news.
Devastated by the loss, as well as by what they’d heard and what they’d seen.
“My daughter comes running down because we heard a boom, two thumps and another boom,” said neighbor Donna Gomez.
“I saw police running, I saw kids running, I saw kids running around in that street,” said Kiara Gomez.
“I saw the kid on the floor. They were trying to resuscitate her, and it was horrible, like a horrible experience for everybody,” said parent Mayerling Mercano.
“I can’t imagine, it made me feel bad. Very sad,” said Lilliana Simko.
Neighbors said the intersection, Northwest 136th Avenue and 10th Street, is dangerous.
It’s a four way stop, but they say drivers speed and sometimes simply ignore the stop signs.
“They don’t stop when the kids are here. They’re constantly racing. You can see the donuts on the ground. It’s a constant thing in night time. They use this road as a racetrack,” said Gomez.
“Nobody stops at the stop signs, nobody. Nobody respects that,” said Maria Quintero.
Although police said the driver did not intentionally disregard the sign, neighbors fear something like this could happen again, and kids like Kendall are missing their friend.
“At least she’s in a happy place now. She’s like an Angel,” said Zaffino.
Copyright 2021 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.