Alleged distracted driver runs into 10-year-old Sarasota girl on her walk to school

A 10-year-old girl in Sarasota is recovering after witnesses said a distracted driver ran into her as she walked to school.

Khloe Rowe left her house early for safety patrol duty on Tuesday. When she got to the intersection of Clark and Lockwood Ridge, she waited for the crosswalk signal to go.

"She's a very safe kid. She listens. She follows the rules. She knows to do that," said Khloe's father, Craig Rowe.

But halfway through the crosswalk, Khloe was hit by a car driven by Vinicius Bezerra.

"It was pretty bad. He hit her hard enough to make her fly in the air and knock her shoes off," Craig said.

Witnesses said Bezerra was on his phone and not paying attention. 

He was cited for failure to yield, driving without a license and no proof of insurance. 

Paramedics took Khloe to the hospital, where doctors found a hairline fracture in her arm.

Khloe and her family know that they’re still lucky that she’s still here today. They want drivers to realize that all it takes is one second, one small distraction to destroy another family’s life.

"If you're driving, stay off your phones. Someone’s life is more important than your text message, your Facebook, your Instagram," Craid said. "It’s not worth it. I could have lost my daughter due to someone not paying attention. Or distracted by something else. I’m just lucky and glad it was minor injuries."

Khole has stopped walking to school. Her parents drop her off and pick her up. They hope her story will open the eyes of everyone on the road. 

"Pay attention, be more cautious," Craig urged drivers.