JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A 12-year-old boy walking to school with friends was hit and killed Monday morning.
It happened around 8:30 a.m. at the busy intersection of Wonderwood Drive and A1A. Jacksonville Sheriff's Office traffic homicide detectives blocked off the road for more than six hours as they worked to reconstruct the crash.
“Three middle school students were crossing the intersection here at A1A and Wonderwood. As they were crossing, one of the students was struck by a vehicle,” said Lt. Steve Mullen.
Hunter Cope died at the hospital a short time later.
The child was seen lying in the middle of the roadway.
Dezaki Snyder, 13, said he was on his way to Mayport Middle School with Hunter and another friend.
“We heard the horn beeping and we were like, ‘Hunter come back, Hunter come back,’ and then he just kept going,” said Dezaki.
JSO said the woman who struck the boy stayed at the scene and is cooperating with police.
“It's possible that they were not in a crosswalk environment or waiting on a light,” said Mullen.
Dezaki said Hunter was his best friend.
Photos: Memorial grows for Hunter Cope
“He loved to play football, video games and he was just a nice person,” said Dezaki.
Dezaki’s mom urged drivers to watch out for students going to school in the area.
“What I'm asking is for people to please slow down especially when you know it's 8-9 o'clock in the morning and you know kids are going to school, you know there's two schools right here. Slow down,” said Ashley Snyder.
Snyder said she’d like to start a petition to get a crossing guard for the intersection. Another mom said she’d like to see more signage in the area to warn drivers about schoolchildren.
“As a mother, all I can think about is that it could've been my child and I can only imagine what Hunter's mother is going through right now,” said Snyder.
It’s unclear if the driver will face any charges. As part of the investigation, JSO said it’ll conduct interviews, determine whether the students were crossing at the appropriate time and check to see if the driver was impaired.
Hunter's father spoke to Action News Jax during a vigil to remember his son Monday night. His frustration and pain was evident as he spoke about losing his son.
He echoed concerns from other parents we talked to about speeding in the area and he wants JSO to tell him how this happened. JSO said it is still investigating and the driver is cooperating.
"Three hours later when I came to back to get my two daughters, his show was in the road and I had to drive by here and see that," Hunter's father said.
As Hunter's heartbroken family waits for answers, the community is coming together to remember this little boy with a big heart.
"All these people loved Hunter. Everyone here. He was a very loved, caring individual. That's the reason all the people he touched are here," Hunter's father said.
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