Mother of daughter killed on University Avenue speaks out, following second student’s death

Published: Jan. 20, 2021 at 6:47 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Community leaders and members are calling on the state to make changes to University Avenue after 19-year-old Sophia Lambert was struck and killed on the avenue last week.

This, just weeks after another young life was taken on that same road.

As much as members of the community fight for changes to University Ave, all major decisions are up to the state because the Florida Department of Transportation maintains the road.

FDOT Spokesperson Troy Roberts said in the statement to TV20: “The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) offers it sincere condolences to the families of those impacted by the crash that occurred this past weekend. The department plans to conduct a listening session to include University of Florida personnel, City officials, and law enforcement in the days to come.”

In the meantime, petitions have been created-- pushing for re-construction, speed bumps, and bridges to make the area safer. For the friends and families of Sophia Lambert, and 18-year old Maggie Paxton who was hit and killed five weeks ago, the tragic loss has left behind irreversible pain.

“We get a knock on the door from two police officers, informing us that our daughter had been run over ... and was deceased .... by a hit and run driver on university avenue, walking home to her dorm. Of course, my reaction was to drop down to my knees in utter disbelief and horror,” said Maggie’s mother, Lisa Paxton.

Both cases are currently under investigation. For now, all there is to do is wait and hope for change.

“Just something has to be done,” said Paxton. Everyone points a finger at everyone else. From my understanding-- it’s an FDOT street owned by the state ... so the city says it’s them ... and then the university says they’re trying to work with both ... but nothing has ever got accomplished. We are just tired of the excuses. Something has to be done before another family has to endure this. It’s just not right.”

This is a developing story.

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