JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Florida Highway Patrol is investigating a fatal accident that claimed the life of a 5-year-old girl.
Ava May Taranto, 5, died after being struck by a car on Normandy Boulevard shortly before 3:30 p.m. Friday. She was crossing the street with her father and brother at the 8900 block, just 500 feet from the nearest crosswalk.
"There was a little baby and she was laying in the middle of the street covered in blood and I started praying for her. And I saw her dad, he was over top her and appeared to be very very upset," said Kevin Boston who drove up on the accident after it happened.
Boston says he saw people were already helping, but as a father of a 3-year-old he could not get the sight out of his mind and returned to the scene.
"I was really praying and hoping," added Boston.
FHP says the 18-year-old driver cooperated with police. They say it appears to be an accident, but are conducting an investigation. Friends of the family were learning of the accident on the news.
"My son, when he heard her name he automatically knew and I was kind of denial," said Shawn Williams, a former neighbor.
An 18-year-old driver struck both the child and her father during the deadly crash. Michelle Quesada, First Coast News
Williams says she knew the family for two years before they moved out of the apartment complex she lives in. She says her son used to play with their kids.
"I'm heartbroken. I honestly have to admit that I cried when I heard it, it's just sad," said Williams. "She was always a happy little girl."
Williams says she remembered the father mostly walked to get around. FHP says they are still investigating to find out why they did not use a crosswalk.
The father was treated at UF Health for non life-threatening injuries.