St. Petersburg police and victim’s mother searching for hit-and-run driver

Pinellas County

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – 15-year old Kate Rutledge admits, it’s going to be hard getting on her bicycle and going for another ride.

She keeps thinking about her last ride on Saturday. That’s when she was crossing Snell Isle Boulevard at Coffee Pot Boulevard and she was hit by a car.

“It kind of happened in slow motion, honestly,” said Kate. “I was crossing right there and then she just hits me. And I fly off of my bike onto the road.”

Mandy Rutledge is pleased her daughter Kate wasn’t seriously hurt, but wants the driver to come forward.

Kate didn’t suffer any serious injuries, that she knows of, but is going to get X-rays on Thursday. She says the driver who hit her initially stopped and then, for whatever reason, took off.

“I finally like got my composure and I look up and I see the lady driving by,” said Kate. “Driving, like leaving.”

Kate went home and told her dad what happened and then they called police. The St. Petersburg Police Department is now investigating the case. Kate’s mom, Mandy, is also doing a bit of investigating herself.

In addition to posting on social media, she went door to door in the neighborhood near where the accident happened and passed out flyers. She wants to let everyone in the area know what happened and urge them to review any surveillance or ring doorbell camera video that may have captured the accident or the car involved.

Kate describes the driver as a woman in her 40s or 50s with dirty blonde or brown hair in a ponytail. She was driving a blue Mazda SUV. Mandy Rutledge found a still photo of the car on one of the neighbor’s home surveillance cameras.

“I’m very interested in holding her accountable,” said Mandy. “Both for what she did to Kate and also because I don’t want her to hurt someone else. “

Other pedestrians at that intersection say they too have had close calls with cars. Natalie Stiles is one of them.

“Even driving at this four-way stop can be unpredictable. People go when they’re not supposed to,” said Stiles. “That’s why I try to walk across it rather than ride across it because if a car were to come when they’re not supposed to I’d rather be walking than try to stop on my bike.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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