Police investigating what led to 6-year-old girl’s death on Polk County street

Polk County

AUBURNDALE, Fla. (WFLA) – Family members and law enforcement are asking why a 6-year old girl was out by herself alone on a busy road Wednesday morning.

Courtesy – Yanique Clarke

The girl, Ra’Nesha Jackson, died after being hit by a pickup truck.

“The big question in our minds is – why was a 6-year old child out at 6:30 in the morning in the dark by herself? That’s concerning for us and we will get to the bottom of it,” Auburndale Police Chief Andy Ray said.

According to Chief Ray, the preliminary investigation shows Jackson’s mother left their home following a dispute with another adult.

The girl left the house to find her mother and Jackson’s father remained in the home, according to Chief Ray.

At 6:24 a.m., an Auburndale police officer spotted Jackson at the intersection of Havendale Boulevard and U.S. Highway 92, which is close to the girl’s home.

As he was turning around to check on her, Jackson ran into the street and was hit by the truck.

“The pickup truck driver did not know that he hit a person and he thought that he had run over something in the road. He felt it but he didn’t actually see the child. He continued about 3 miles to the city of Lake Alfred when another motorist flagged him down,” Chief Ray said.

The 36-year old driver returned to the scene and is cooperating with law enforcement.

News Channel 8 is not disclosing his name as he is not being charged with a crime at this time.

“She’s funny. She’s really funny,” Jackson’s aunt Yanique Clarke said.

Clarke said the Florida Department of Children and Families was involved in Jackson’s young and short life.

“This January would make it a year since they got them back from DCF custody,” Clarke said.

Clarke said her family often had concerns about the safety of her sister’s eight children.

“This is neglect. You could say that’s neglect,” she said about Jackson’s death Wednesday.

Jackson’s grandmother, Susan Rodgers, said Jackson’s parents fought often.

“I keep talking to her, talking to her, talking to her. I said, if you two cannot agree, separate,” she said.

Chief Ray said police were called to Jackson’s home several times over the years, most recently in September 2020.

The police department contacted DCF Wednesday morning after Jackson’s death as there are other children living in the home.

“It’s always hard to see a child who’s hurt and very traumatic to see a child who’s deceased. The things that led up to it, we’re still unpacking. We’ll figure that out,” Chief Ray said.

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