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Child killed after being struck by car in Fort Pierce hit-and-run crash

Yaceny Berenice Rodriguez-Gonzalez, 10, hit while crossing street to get to school bus
Jaceny Berenice Rodriguez-Gonzalez, 10, killed in hit-and-run crash in Fort Pierce on Sept. 23, 2021.jpg
Police investigate hit-and-run crash at Skylark Drive and Oleander Avenue in Fort Pierce, Sept. 23, 2021
Posted at 8:47 AM, Sep 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-23 17:36:20-04

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — A 10-year-old girl has died after a hit-and-run crash Thursday morning in Fort Pierce, authorities said.

The crash happened shortly before 6:15 a.m. at Skylark Drive and Oleander Avenue.

Police said Yaceny Berenice Rodriguez-Gonzalez was crossing the street to get to her school bus, which was stopped with its red lights flashing and stop sign extended.

A white sedan going northbound went around the parked bus, hit the girl, then took off.

When officers arrived at the scene, they found Rodriguez-Gonzalez lying unconscious in a grassy area.

Rodriguez-Gonzalez was taken to Lawnwood Regional Medical Center, where she later died from her injuries.

While it's unclear if the driver was male or female, investigators said they are looking for a white, four-door sedan with front-end damage.

"We want to find this person and take them into custody," said Major Carlos Rodriguez with the Fort Pierce Police Department. "They didn't even stop to see if the person that they hit, the young child that was struck, Yaceny, was OK. And that hurts us all."

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Child killed after being struck by car in Fort Pierce hit-and-run crash

Police said it appears Rodriguez-Gonzalez's mother and younger sibling witnessed the tragic crash. The impact was so severe, the girl's shoes and backpack were knocked off her.

St. Lucie Public Schools Superintendent Wayne Gent said there were children on the school bus when Rodriguez-Gonzalez was struck.

"Folks need to slow down and pay attention to what's going on and pay attention to their surroundings when they're driving, especially when there's school buses there," Gent said.

Gent added that grief counselors are on hand at Rodriguez-Gonzalez's school to help students and staff members who are struggling with the tragedy.

"The district itself, we're in a state of shock right now," Gent said. "We're just crushed."

"It's pretty tough. I feel the pain," said neighbor James Mayes. "I hope whoever did it will turn himself in because that's pretty bad."

Major Rodriguez said the driver involved will face charges of hit-and-run with serious bodily injury causing death.

If you have any information that can help detectives, call Treasure Coast Crime Stoppers at 1-800-273-8477 or Fort Pierce Police Traffic Homicide Investigator Shane Stokes at 772-302-4764 or sstokes@fortpiercepolicedepartment.org.