As he prepared to leave for work, Eduardo Rodriguez told his daughter he loved her.
Less than an hour later, 15-year-old Gabriella Rodriguez, described as a hard-headed, hard-working tomboy with an abundant sense of humor, was sprawled on Harrison Avenue “moving around like a fish out of the water,” her father told our news partner, WCPO-TV in Cincinnati.
She had been hit by two cars while trying to cross the street to catch a Metro bus to get to Western Hills University High School, where she was a freshman.
The first vehicle knocked her to the ground, Cincinnati police said. The second car ran her over as she tried to get up and then fled the scene.
“They ran her over like a g**damn animal,” Eduardo Rodriguez told the station. “That’s what they did”
Gabriella died later in the morning at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
Police said they are searching for a white 2010 Toyota Corolla with Ohio plates.
The four-lane intersection of Harrison Avenue where Gabriella was hit has no crosswalks, and people who live and work nearby said they weren’t surprised to hear about a fatal pedestrian strike, WCPO reported.
Gabriella’s mother, Shawna Rodriguez, said motorists tend to fly past at speeds far above the legal limit.
“I’ve worked in traffic and I’ve almost gotten hit on this road,” she said. “This road, people go 60, 70, 80 mph.”
More than anything, Shawna Rodriquez told WCPO she wants the person who struck and killed Gabriella to take responsibility for their actions.
“I’m begging them,” she said. “I need answers.”
The Cincinnati Reds observed a moment of silence in honor of the softball player, and her classmates decorated the softball-specific field for which she had pushed.