FDOT studying safety on Busch Blvd. after student's death

- Surveillance video obtained Wednesday by FOX 13 shows the moments before a teenager was hit by a car and killed as she crossed Busch Boulevard in Tampa a day earlier.

The video, recorded by a security camera on PC Services, shows three teenagers casually walking down the center turn lane of the road. Just as they disappear from view, two run back the other direction; Alexis Miranda, 17, had just been hit by a car. She died at the scene.

"Very sad for everybody, for the kids and for the person that hit the child," said George Kladis, who owns PC Services. "I didn't even want to look at [the video] but I figured I'd take a look to see if there was anything that I could see on there."

Miranda was on the way to Chamberlain High School, where she was a non-traditional part-time student, trying to earn her G.E.D. Police said she was not in a crosswalk; the closest one was about two blocks away at the intersection of Busch and North Boulevards.

Kladis said, after watching the video, he believes the other teenagers are fortunate they weren't hurt too.

"It could have been all three of them that got hit," he told FOX 13.

Investigators said the driver, identified by police as Belovedofgod Ndegwa, 33, may have been speeding down the center turn lane to try to get around traffic. The State Attorney is expected to decide whether he will be charged with a crime.

Meanwhile, the Florida Department of Transportation is launching a study to determine whether there are any safety features that need to be installed in that area.

"We'll look at everything from where bus stops are located. We'll take a look at that center left turn lane, crash data, pedestrian counts, where the schools are in the area," said Kris Carson, a spokesperson for FDOT. "We'll have to take a look at the whole corridor to see: can we add refuge islands? Medians? Can we add crosswalks? What will make the corridor safer?"

Prior to the incident Tuesday, there had been two pedestrian-related crashes near that intersection since 2008; one was deadly, the other resulted in a serious injury.

Carson said FDOT ran a similar study two years ago.

"We looked at the corridor and we did pedestrian counts and most of the students, the pedestrians out there, were actually using the signalized intersection at North Boulevard and Busch, which is what we want," she said. "There weren't enough pedestrians using other areas to warrant additional crosswalks."

Some business owners in the area said they'd like to see something done.

"We've been kind of shocked that things like this don't happen more often because of the traffic and the number of people we see in the road," said Eric Bunch, the owner of North Tampa Photography, adding he believes speeding is the biggest issue. "We see people start at that traffic light, haul down going 70, 80 miles an hour and no one ever pays attention to it. Then they use the center lane as a way to avoid all the traffic."

Kladis, however, isn't sure if anything -- particularly additional crosswalks -- will help.

"Honestly, I don't think so," he said. "They're kids. They're daredevils. They're going to do whatever they want. You could put crosswalks. Some will use it, some won't. This was just a very, very unfortunate situation that happened."

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