Tragic death of 9-year-old pushes Sarasota to make roads safer

Sarasota County

SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – Officials in Sarasota are pushing to make sure kids are as safe as possible when they walk or bike to school. The renewed effort comes in the wake of the tragic death of 9-year-old Roman Miller.

Miller was hit and killed by a truck while biking to Brentwood Elementary on Monday morning.

In Florida, students must provide their own transportation if they live within a two-mile radius of their school.

County commissioners voted Tuesday to direct staff to do research and see if more funding, crossing guards or resources are needed to keep children safe. 

Staffers will reach out to the school board, sheriff’s office and other municipalities to see what more can be done.

“The crossing guards, where are the crossing guards stationed? Is that something we need, additional funding from the sheriff’s office to ensure we have additional crossing guards on major roads,” said Commissioner Christian Ziegler.

“The only thing I know that could’ve prevented this is to have a crossing guard,” Commissioner Nancy Detert added. “And that’s an expense to the school board, but I think they need to look at that expense.”

According to the nonprofit organization Safe Kids Worldwide, unintentional pedestrian injuries are the fifth-leading cause of injury-related death in the United States for children ages 5 to 19. 

FHP says the crash that killed Roman is still under investigation. Charges could be filed against the driver, 25-year-old Charity Lamb.

“We just need to be sure they’re safe. I want my kids to be safe just like everyone else wants their kids to be safe. There’s nothing more important than ensuring our kids are getting to school safe and that they’re safe when they’re in school,” said Ziegler.

School officials say a vigil has been planned for the boy. It will be held Thursday at 6 p.m. at Brentwood Elementary at 2500 Vinson Avenue in Sarasota.

In addition, the administration at Brentwood Elementary has announced it is accepting donations at the school for the Miller family. A collection will be taken on Thursday evening for those who wish to contribute. Anyone wishing to make an additional donation can do so at the school’s front office at any time. One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to the family. 

The family has set up a GoFundMe account.

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