A Peace River Elementary School student was struck by a vehicle while riding her bicycle on the way to school 8:30 a.m. Wednesday morning.

The crash occurred on the 4000 block of Beaver Lane in Port Charlotte.

The eight-year-old student sustained minor injuries to her leg after a vehicle pulling across the sidewalk struck her, according to the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office. 

Public Information Officer for the sheriff's office Katie Heck said the vehicle was stopped, partially in sidewalk, and the bicyclist tried to go around the vehicle. When the vehicle pulled forward, it caught the bicycle.

It's not known how quickly the vehicle moved forward.

Deputies said the driver stayed at the scene while deputies tended to the injured student. The driver was issued a traffic citation for a moving violation.

The sheriff's office is not releasing the driver's name or any identifying information, citing Florida Statute 316.066(2)(a), regarding written reports of crashes. The statute says identifying information about those involved in a crash will remain confidential for 60 days after the report is filed.

Heck said a moving violation typically results in a fine and the driver receiving points on their license. It's not immediately clear what the fine was, if any for the driver. 

"We're trying to remind drivers when they're in the school area, to take some extra time, be cautious about walkers sometimes being unpredictable," Heck said. 

"We're asking drivers to always give children the benefit of the doubt, and be aware they're going to be coming from different directions, until everyone gets used to their school routine," she added.

Public Information Officer for the district Mike Riley said, "Drivers need to be aware that our children are out in the mornings on their way to school."

He added that students walk, ride their bikes, and travel by bus and car.

"Please be extra cautious this time of year. Look left, look right and then look left and look right again," Riley said. 
"They [drivers] can not be too careful especially in the morning hours while children are on their way to school and again in the afternoon hours while our children are on their way home from school," he added.

Heck said prior to the crash, the sheriff's office traffic unit was conducting school zone enforcement on Beaver Lane, where the crash occurred. 

"It is very important for drivers to not only be mindful of school zone speeds, but also children in the area of these zones and bus stops," she added.

Email: Brianna.Kwasnik@yoursun.com


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