POINCIANA, Fla. (FOX 13) - A woman accused of hitting and killing a 13-year-old girl who had been riding her bike to school appeared in court Thursday.
The judge appointed 25-year-old Micaela Colonel a public defender.
Investigators said Colonel, who is from Argentina, was taking her two kids to elementary school around 7:50 a.m. Tuesday morning when she hit and killed Mariana Barroto.
The teen had been riding her bicycle to Lake Marion Creek Middle School in Poinciana when she was struck by Colonel's minivan, deputies said.
“Instead of celebrating the 14th birthday of Mariana, they are going to be burying her,” said Polk Sheriff Grady Judd.
Colonel told investigators that it was hard to see out of her windshield because 80% of it was covered with condensation. Judd said if she had simply cleaned off the window, Mariana might still be alive today.
“She was careless,” Judd said. “She was negligent, and because of her negligence, there is a 13-year-old child that is dead.”
Colonel has been here on a “visitor pass” since October. Judd said since it had expired, she is here illegally.
Deputies said Coronel has been charged with a felony count of operating a motor vehicle without a valid driver's license causing death, and authorities have alerted U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
If Colonel is convicted, Judd said she could be sentenced up to 5 years in prison. After her time is served, she could be deported.