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Sheriff: High school student hits, kills grandmother | News

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Sheriff: High school student hits, kills grandmother

Lakeland, Florida - The Polk County Sheriff's Office is investigating the death of a 70-year-old Lakeland grandmother.

Investigators say a 17-year-old female Kathleen High School student was driving a 2004 Red Dodge truck northbound on Chase Road just north of Settler's Creek Drive in Lakeland early Monday morning.  The sheriff's office says she hit Francois Simon as Simon walked northbound along Chase road.

Her oldest son, James Jean-Rene says his mother had heart problems and wore a pace maker. She walked every morning to stay healthy. James says, "She's the most lovable person you can ever met that would do anything for anybody. Now I don't have a mother anymore. Somebody was being careless."

Grady Judd, the sheriff of Polk County says it was dark and foggy at the time and Simon was wearing dark clothing while walking with traffic not against it. There are no sidewalks near the roadway. Judd says the impact of the accident threw Simon into the driver's windshield.

Sheriff Judd says the student kept driving which is against the law. He says, she went to a friend's home and told her friend she thought she hit someone. Judd says, "They started back to the scene, saw a fire truck and she got scared and went on to the high school." When she got there she told school officials  who then notified the school resource officer.

In the meantime, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd says, "The way we heard about it is another young man waiting to ride the school bus heard a noise, saw a vehicle swerve and then drive off. When this young man got onto the school bus, he told the school bus driver, 'I think a truck hit something out here.'"

He says the bus driver called paramedics and waited for them to arrive. The sheriff's office says paramedics got the call at 6:08 a.m. They were enroute by 6:10 a.m. and arrived at the scene at 6:15 a.m.  Sheriff's deputies arrived at the same time and found Simon lying in a ditch near the roadway, dead.

Jutland Jean-Rene says that's the hardest part of losing his mother. "I feel like if she would have at least stopped maybe my mom would have been alive right now."

Jutland is one of 13 kids. He says his mother also leaves behind 30 grandkids. 

10 News is not releasing the name of the student, since no charges have been filed against her at this time and because she is a minor.  Sheriff Judd says they are still investigating and plan to turn over their findings to the state attorney's office to  make a decision regarding whether to press charges.

The student could face a charge of leaving the scene of an accident with death, which is a felony. No word yet is she would be charged as a juvenile or as an adult. Sheriff Judd says the state attorney's office will make a decision one the sheriff's office investigation is complete.



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