As the last week of classes began, the Sarasota school district was dealing with a horrifying tragedy – a young boy was hit and killed while biking to class.
Just before 8 o’clock Monday morning, 9-year-old Roman Miller was riding his bike to his third-grade class at Brentwood Elementary. He was following behind his older sister, a fifth-grade student at the school.
Florida Highway Patrol troopers say the siblings were in a crosswalk at the intersection of Webber Street and Nodosa Drive. At the same time, a 25-year-old woman in a Chevy Silverado was trying to turn off Nodosa Drive onto Webber.
“Unfortunately, she did not see the 9-year-old bicyclist. The bicyclist was struck by the vehicle and dragged approximately 15 feet,” FHP Trooper Kenn Watson said.
Roman was pronounced dead less than an hour later at Doctors Hospital.
News Channel 8 spoke with the Silverado driver at her home following the tragic death. We are not naming her at this time because she has not been charged.
“I seen the kid’s sister and so I was stopped already. And I seen her coming across and she kept looking back and I made sure and I looked the other way to see if anybody else was coming,” the woman told us. “I didn’t see anybody so by that time I guess he had already been in front of my truck and – he was sitting so low I couldn’t see him in front of my truck.”
She then realized something was wrong.
“I started going (and) I heard a noise and I looked back and I seen the kid just laying there,” she said. “I tried to help him and I called 911 and that’s really all I could do – I didn’t even see the kid.”
A family friend tells News Channel 8 Roman and his family just moved here from Ohio a little more than a year ago.
“Roman is a typical 9-year-old,” Joshua Morris said. “Something like this is unfathomable. It’s the last thing you ever want to face or the call you want to wake up to.”
The boy’s father was out of town this morning in California. Family friends say he is rushing home to be with his grieving wife. The close-knit, loving family is now forever heartbroken.
“Last night they were arguing about building forts and how to build a fort and now, you know, this morning a tragic accident happened,” Morris said.
Neighbors say it was a horrific scene.
“When I walked outside and (Roman’s mother) was screaming so intensely,” Margaret Davis recalled. “I know the feeling of losing a child so I just stood there and cried with her for a minute because she knew before they even put him in the ambulance that he was gone.”
The driver of the Silverado says she is extremely remorseful.
“I lost my husband last year and I know it’s really hard to lose someone,” she said.
She also has a message for the family.
“I just feel God awful for you, every single one of them. And I just wish that they weren’t going through this because of me,” she said.
FHP says charges could be filed in this case. They’re waiting on the toxicology report.
Neighbors tell us the road where the crash happened is very dangerous. They hope changes are made.
“This is not the first accident but it’s the worst accident and the traffic’s been getting worse and worse since they opened it all the way through,” Davis said. “They’re going 60 to 100 all the way through, through the night.”
“There’s so many kids and there’s nobody to watch them because the school zone ends a couple of streets down,” Melissa Pointer added. “So people are flying down the road.”
Counselors are being made available at Roman’s school in the aftermath of his tragic death.
The family has set up a GoFundMe page to cover Roman’s memorial service and other expenses.