Deputies in Polk County say a 17-year-old, who was on his way to school, was killed after being hit by a minivan this morning.
According to the sheriff's office, Enrique Hernandez was walking northbound in the northbound lane of Old Dixie Highway near US Highway 92 W when he was struck by a Dodge Caravan that was driving in the same direction.
The driver of the van, identified by deputies as Prakesh Patel, 50, tried to avoid hitting the teen but was unsuccessful, investigators say. The view from SkyFOX showed the green minivan had come to rest in a ditch.
It's not the only recent accident near the school. In December of 2009, 14-year-old Colton Meyers was struck and killed while walking from school.
That accident happened on Old Dixie Highway West and Taylor Road South. Investigators said a student was trying to drive around another car when he hit Meyers.
The sheriff's office said Wednesday morning's accident happened before dawn along a section of the road with no sidewalks or street lights.
They added that Hernandez was wearing earphones when he was hit.
"I heard 'bam! bam!' I heard the hit," said witness Jeremy Johnson. "I thought it, it hit hard, he sounded like he hit a pole. It hit him real hard, and I jumped down on the porch there and ran down there. I saw shoes in the road, cell phone, and then I looked down and the man next door grabbed a flashlight, and we saw him in the ditch."
Patel immediately stopped and tried to help Hernandez, but the teen was declared dead at the scene.
Hernandez's family said he was a quiet guy, but loved playing soccer, basketball and video games.
"He was just a quiet kid who made everybody laugh," said cousin Jesus Hernandez.
Enrique's younger sister heard kids talking about a boy being killed on his way to Teneroc, and she started to worry.
Her worst fears were confirmed when she got home.
"I get here and everybody is crying and I started shaking and they say your brother is no longer with us," his sister said.
Deputies say impairment and speed were not a factor in the crash.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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