Dayanna Andrea Gil: Student struck by hit and run driver in Port St. Lucie

Police say they located the car

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - UPDATE: The victim, Dayanna Gil, died Monday, April 14, 2014 from her injuries. Details can be found here .
Police arrested Ivette Nieves-Barsuglia on Tuesday, April 15 in connection with the crash.

Original story:

 Port St. Lucie police say they found the car suspected of  striking a student around 6:45 a.m. Monday.

Investigators say they were called to the 500 block of SW Lucero Drive where they found a person, later identified as Dayanna Andrea Gil, 18, lying on the side of the road.

They say a car struck her and propelled her 30 feet into the swale and then left on the north side of the street.

Luna Brown, a nurse, came to the girl's aid. "Her face was down in the grass and her hair was in her face so I moved her hair and I did her pulse and she had a pulse and she was breathing.  She was snoring.  She wasn't responding and I'm saying 'can you hear me?' and she didn't say anything."

Gil, who attends Port St. Lucie High, was airlifted to St. Mary's Medical Center with significant trauma to her body, according to a police report. She was last listed in critical condition.

School administrators say counselors will be available as needed to talk to classmates and friends of the injured student.

"I had her in my medical skills class. She was really smart. Every time I needed help, she would always help me out. Every morning I get on the bus, she would say 'hi, good morning,' " said Jantera Williams.

After the crash police began looking for a gray Nissan Sentra with right front-end damage and damage to the mirror.

They later found  a damaged silver Nissan Sentra in the driveway of 461 SW Lucero Drive.

They say they are interviewing a person of interest.

John Barsuglia, the husband of the woman police took in for questioning, said his wife has 2 children and 2 step-children and works in law enforcement at the Martin Correctional Institution and said there's no way she would be involved in a hit and run. "If something like this was to happen, she'd never walk away from this like that.  She'd never just take off.  She'd never run away, she'd be the first to jump out and try to help."

Monday's hit and run is putting renewed focus on the lack of sidewalks in Port St. Lucie. The city is aware of the problem and has a long term plan but some residents want action now.


Lucero Drive is not on the city's current list of about 35 sidewalk projects.


"Every accident is a bad thing but there are so many roads that need sidewalks in Port St. Lucie and we can't get them all done at the same time," says Ed Cunningham, the city's Communications Director.


Cunningham says they want every street to have a sidewalk but it takes money and time.  One mile of sidewalk costs about $400,000. 


"It's a big priority and every chance we can we're gonna put more money into it," says Cunningham. 


"I think the city can do some very minor fixes by just putting a stop signs up," says resident Tracey Verschueren.


Verschueren's house is next to the area where Diana Gil was hit by a car Monday morning.  The hit and run scared neighbors especially those who saw the 18-year-old victim. 


"She's laying face down, her shoes were knocked off her and there's plastic everywhere from a headlight to a mirror," says witness Richard Bolz.


The speed limit is 30 but neighbors says most people drive well over that number.


In February, the city council approved $800,000 in next year's budget for sidewalks.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Port St. Lucie Police Department at (772) 871-5001 or Treasure Coast Crime Stoppers at 1-800-273-TIPS.

NewsChannel 5's Jamel Lanee & Elizabeth Harrington contributed to this report.

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