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14-year-old injured in hit-and-run crash with former DCF employee dies, authorities say

Suspect charges upgraded
Posted at 6:15 AM, Feb 11, 2020

TAMPA, Fla. — The 14-year-old girl who was left in critical condition after a hit-and-run crash in January died from her injuries, the sheriff's office said on Monday.

The teenager, who has not been identified, was hit by an SUV on January 30 as she crossed the street with some friends near East 122nd Avenue and 15th Street.

The woman accused of hitting her, 24-year-old Nakeeba Ryan, is now facing charges for leaving the scene of a crash with death, which is a first-degree felony.

The sheriff's office says after Ryan hit the teenager, she got out and checked her vehicle before leaving the scene. According to court documents, "The defendant exited her vehicle, walked over to the victim, looked at the damage to the front her vehicle, then moved her vehicle into a nearby parking lot" before leaving.

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The victim was taken to Tampa General after the accident and remained there in critical condition for more than a week. The sheriff's office said on Monday she died from severe head trauma suffered in the accident.

"We will never know if this young life could have been saved had Nakeeba Ryan remained at the scene and called for help immediately instead of driving away," said Sheriff Chad Chronister. "Fleeing from a crash is not only cruel, but it is also a guaranteed way to face charges, even if you were not at fault. Under no circumstances should a driver leave the scene of an accident."

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Ryan was employed with the Department of Children and Family Services in the Customer Call Center in Tampa. Officials for DCF say she was terminated the day of her arrest.

"Our hearts go out to the child victim, as well as her friends and family who are suffering because of this tragic incident. The alleged driver, Nakeeba Ryan, had been with the Department of Children and Families since February 8, 2019. She was an employee in the Customer Call Center in Tampa, handling inquiries pertaining to our economic self-sufficiency program," said Natalie Harrell, Communications Director, Suncoast Region Florida Department of Children and Families. "To be clear, Ms. Ryan’s alleged behavior is not reflective of the high standards we expect and demand from DCF employees. We take all instances of employee malfeasance seriously, especially those that harm the vulnerable populations we serve every day, and therefore, Ms. Ryan’s employment was immediately terminated.