TAMPA — A brother and sister were hospitalized Friday afternoon after they were struck by a car while leaving middle school on the last day of the school year.
Friends said the girl was hit while she was trying to pull her brother out of the way of the car.
Nahomy Brizula and her brother Abner, both students at Buchanan Middle School, were struck by a Honda Civic heading east on Bearss Avenue as they tried to cross the busy four-lane road at about 1:30 p.m. The siblings were in stable condition at St. Joseph’s Hospital, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said.
Nahomy, 15, who finished eighth grade at Buchanan, suffered a broken ankle, and Abner, 12, suffered a head injury, friends said.
Five students, including Nahomy and Abner, were following a group of about 25 students who were heading to a nearby park to celebrate the end of the school year. The first group had already darted across Bearss Avenue at Monet Drive, which doesn’t have a crosswalk.
When Nahomy, Abner and their three friends crossed, they stopped at the median, but Abner continued walking. His sister reached out for him, grabbed his shirt and they were both hit by the car, friends said.
Although Nahomy was hurt, she crawled to her brother’s side, said Jerri Paul, a 12-year-old student at Buchanan Middle who was at the median with Nahomy and Abner.
“She was screaming his name,’’ Paul said.
The car’s driver, 19-year-old Juana Zurbano of Tampa, was cited for driving with a suspended license, the sheriff’s office said.
Friends who witnessed the crash said the majority of the students who had crossed Bearss ran from the scene after the crash. The school resource officer at Buchanan Middle was nearby and rushed to assist, the students said.
Nahomy and Abner usually take the school bus home, friends said, but Friday was a special day because it was the last day of school and some students from Buchanan Middle had planned to hang out at a park to celebrate after being dismissed early.
The sheriff’s office said Abner is a special needs child.
Miguel Guzman, a student at Buchanan Middle, said Nahomy did her best to protect her brother.
“She risked her life for her brother,” said Guzman, 13. “She’s always looking out for him.”