This week, FDOT finished painting a crosswalk near the block where 8-year-old Jayla Shubbar died. Her mother calls the new crosswalk a death trap that gives pedestrians a false sense of security.
TAMPA, Fla. -
A lot of people love Jayla
. So many, in fact, the 8-year-old's bedroom walls are covered with colorful cards.
The only ones left to read them, however, are her mother, Darcien, and sister, Jazmine.
Jayla died crossing Busch Boulevard on clear Sunday morning in February just before 11 a.m.
The driver told police she never saw the child. She missed Jazmine, 11, by seconds.
"I tried to drag her out of the road," Jazmine remembers.
Since then, Darcien's advocated for a traffic light to break up the mile stretch between the two existing lights. If there had been one in February, she believes her daughter would still be alive.
Today, however, she says her fight is for other children.
"Yes, I'm a grieving parent. Yes, I am upset. But I cannot save Jayla. Jayla is dead," cried Darcien Shubbar.
Thursday, FDOT finished painting a crosswalk near the block where Jayla died.
"It's obviously horrific. A lot of us have children," explained FDOT Spokesperson Kris Carson. "We would never want to see someone go through that."
Between 2007 and 2012, the stretch of Busch Boulevard between Nebraska Avenue and 22nd Avenue North had 18 pedestrian crashes.
According to FDOT, it does not meet the minimum requirement for a traffic signal, which is 93 pedestrians per hour. Their records show between 30 - 45 pedestrians per hour.
"We just can't put up signals everywhere. That's not the answer. We can actually increase crashes by doing that," Carson said.
Darcien calls it a death trap, giving pedestrians a false sense of security.
"They see no danger. I press this, I can go. Nobody's going to hit me," Darcien said.
She knows she's faced criticism for allowing the girls to cross on their own that morning, but says she can't walk well after surviving domestic violence that forced the family's move to Florida.
That morning, Darcien's back hurt and her daughters asked for freedom to go alone. She takes responsibility for the past, but questions whether FDOT is taking responsibility for the future.
"The thought of another family going through this. How do they live with themselves? How?"