BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — Brevard County commissioners are joining forces after a 12-year-old girl, who was using a new type of crosswalks known as the “rectangular rapid-flashing beacon,” or RRFB, was fatally struck by a vehicle.
- Sophia Nelson, 12, struck, killed by vehicle while using crosswalk
- Commissioner wants to make changes to the RRFB crosswalks
- Asking to change flashing lights from yellow to red, reduce the speed limit
- Get more Brevard County headlines
Commissioners met Tuesday night to ask Gov. Ron DeSantis for help to make State Road A1A safer.
On December 22, Sophia Nelson used the crosswalk near Ellwood Avenue and was hit by a car. She died shortly after.
The sixth-grader at Surfside Elementary School never had the chance to spend one last holiday with her family, and Brevard County District 4 Commissioner Curt Smith said the crosswalk changes need to happen now, not later.
"If I put up this much of a stink back then, maybe that little girl on Satellite Beach would still be alive. When I heard about her being killed because of these stupid lights, I said, ‘We got to do something about this,’” Smith said.
Dave Clarke says since moving to Satellite Beach 42 years ago, things have been pretty much the same until the RRFBs started popping up and making the roads more dangerous rather than safer.
Spectrum News 13 reached out to Sophia’s father and he replied in a text message that read, in part, “We would welcome any change that might reduce risk of another accident like Sophia's. Today would have been her first day back at school, and we're still reeling from this senseless loss.”
According to Brevard Public Schools, there are additional grief counselors at Surfside Elementary for students coping with Sophia’s death. Blue ribbons are all over the city to remember Sophia.
In a statement from the Florida Dept. of Transportation, in part, read, “We understand the urgency and will continue very close coordination as we evaluate the recommendations being brought forth by all parties.”
Commissioner Smith is asking to change the flashing lights from yellow to red and to reduce the speed limit from 45 to 35.
“They’re a dumb idea. I can’t imagine anyone coming up with it. It creates a false sense of security. The yellow gets your attention and the red means stop. Everybody knows that. You don't have to retrain the brain,” he said.
Smith said DeSantis reached out to him and is planning to have a serious conversation about what needs to be done with the A1A crosswalks.