TAMPA, Fla. — With his 6-year-old daughter in a neck brace, sleeping in a wheelchair to his left, and his 12-year-old daughter seated to his right, Edin Galindo sat in the back of the room at Iglesia Cristiana on Monday night looking to city and school leaders for help.
Galindo's two daughters were among seven injured on Nov. 1 when a car drove off East Bougainvillea Avenue and onto the sidewalk where the group was waiting for the school bus to arrive.
During a community meeting Monday evening organized by Tampa city councilman Luis Viera, Galindo and others said safety changes must be made before another child is hurt.
Galindo said his 6-year-old daughter Allison was left with a collapsed lung and neck, hand and leg fractures. His 12-year-old daughter Perla, who sustained minor injuries, said her younger sister has struggled in the month since the crash.
“She has been like really like sad and at the same time angry," Perla Galindo said." She doesn’t really want to talk about it."
Perla said she's been driven to school since the crash because she's too scared to wait at the bus stop.
Viera organized the community meeting to hear residents’ concerns and initiate changes to make sure another accident doesn’t happen again.
“After a tragedy like that people, should have a voice in expressing change in local government policies," Viera said.
While changes aren't guaranteed, Viera said he plans to take concerns voiced Monday night to future discussions with city and school leaders.
"We want to get to a posture where we are proactive and not reactive and that's what tonight was about," Viera said.
Tampa police officers who attended the meeting said traffic stops along all of East Bougainvillea increased from 154 in 2017 to 247 in 2018. In the past month, officers said more than 50 traffic stops had been made in the immediate area of the crash and eight drivers had been ticketed for speeding.
However, police say speed doesn't appear to be a factor in the crash and that the driver was not impaired. FDLE is still reviewing the case. Officers say it's likely the driver will only be charged with a civil infraction for reckless driving.
Galindo says he can't understand why more serious charges haven't already been filed.
"What happened was not an accident," he said.
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