Dozens gather on Bayshore to remember mother, toddler

- Despite the rain, there was an outpouring of support on Bayshore Saturday morning for a family dealing with the tragic loss of a mother and her 21-month-old daughter.

At the spot on Bayshore Boulevard where Jessica Raubenolt and her daughter, Lillia were hit and killed Wednesday, allegedly by street-racing teens, community members gathered around their families to offer comfort and support.

Balloons and flowers now cover the intersection of Bayshore Blvd. and W. Knights Ave. - the spot where Jessica and Lillia took their last steps.

Some at the vigil also expressed concerns about the overall safety of the roadway for drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists. The concern is not new to residents in South Tampa, but the call for immediate, sweeping changes is.

UPDATE: Judge grants $50,000 bond for driver in deadly Bayshore crash

Tampa City Council member Harry Cohen spoke to the emotional crowd.

“We are going to work our hearts out all summer long to make these streets and sidewalks safer. We are going to look at every single idea that is being presented to us, and I promise you, you’re going to see big changes in this community,” he said.

One change has already been made in the days since the crash. On Thursday, the city announced the speed limit on Bayshore would reduce from 40 miles-per-hour to 35, effective the following day. The new signs went up Friday.

The city says its long-term plan also includes clearly-marked crosswalks with flashing lights.

Parents who attended the vigil with their children, meanwhile, say they feel a connection with the Raubenolts - from one family to another.

“Having a young daughter that was of close age, it could have been any of us," said Tampa native Alli Akers, who attended the vigil with her young daughter. "We really wanted to pay our respects to the family, and pretty much anyone that was involved.”

After a handful of speakers, the vigil ended with everyone joining in to sing one of Lillia’s favorite songs: "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."

Lillia Raubenolt was an organ donor.

Family members say they find peace knowing that her spirit will live on and that she will help save someone else’s life.

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