NEW YORK (CBS 2) – A teen tragedy during the walk to school has rocked a Long Island community on Wednesday.
A car struck and killed 14-year-old Brittany Vega as she tried to cross a busy road. A nearby gas station had surveillance cameras rolling as the high school freshman darted into traffic against the light.
The school bus was due at her stop at 7:05 a.m., but the bright, energetic ninth grader needed to get to Wantagh High School early, and decided to walk. Against school policy, she followed a route across six lanes of busy Sunrise Highway.
Police say Brittany apparently thought the coast looked clear and took a chance. The driver who hit her had the right of way as she darted into the crosswalk.
Brittany’s parents, Daniel and Sandi Vega, are hearbroken.
“We are absolutely distraught over our daughter’s loss. It’s not even real right now,” Sandi Vega said. “We are going through a lot of different emotions, but we still can’t even believe that she’s not coming back.”
The horrible tragedy was caught on videotape by surveillance cameras at Ahmer Saeed’s gas station.
Brittany was rushed to the hospital, but it was too late.
“Very, very traumatic. You kiss your kids and come to work, you don’t expect this – don’t expect parents to bury their kids,” Saeed said.
Saeed said he was especially disturbed that some of his patrons kept pumping gas, in a rush to get to work, while the ordeal unfolded.
“I am strict with her about crossing the streets, because I know it’s so dangerous at rush hour,” Wantagh parent Ellen Gryszkin said.
Brittany’s shaken classmates described her as a lover of art and music.
“I want to roll back time, and tell her not to go,” classmate Michael Garcia said.
“She was one of my best friends,” friend Caitlin Kaniski said. “I told her everything, and she told me everything.”
“Once the teacher told us what happened, we were all just hysterical crying, and nobody could handle it,” student Katelyn Kearney said.
Brittany ‘s friends wonder how such a mature, independent, free-thinker made the decision to ignore the light.
Police impounded the 2004 Toyota Camry that hit Vega for safety tests, but investigators say there does not appear to be any criminality, and there are currently no plans to charge the 36-year-old driver.