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Mother of a hit-and-run victim pleads with Gainesville city commissioners to make changes

Published: Jan. 21, 2021 at 11:34 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - After a discussion spanning more than an hour and comments from more than 10 people, Gainesville city commissioners passed two motions that they hope will spark change on University Avenue. This was an issue raised by Commissioner Harvey Ward.

One of the many callers about the issue is far too familiar with one of these tragedies.

“Hello, this is Maggie Paxton’s mother, and I just wanted to call in tonight [Thursday], so you all could hear the pain and the rawness we still feel as we lost our Maggie on December 9th. Before her was Abigail and so many others and Sophia after if Maggie’s would have been addressed or even acknowledged by the University perhaps Sophia’s wouldn’t have happened,” said Lisa Paxton, the mother of Maggie Paxton.

A very emotional Lisa Paxton told commissioners at Thursday’s meeting action needs to be taken immediately.

“If I need to take a field trip to Tallahassee, I’m sure I have an army of people behind me to get whatever is necessary is passed, to make these students safe on University Avenue and the surrounding area. So that no other family has to suffer, the way that we are, the way that Sophia’s family is, and so many before them. This is not okay, and we are not going anywhere.”

One of the motions commissioners voted on asks the Florida Department of Transportation for sidewalk barriers, lowering the speed limit, proper signage, and flashing lights passed 4 to 3 with Commissioner Saco and Hayes-Santos as well as Mayor Poe voting in dissent.

The six-part motion that passed unanimously includes drafting a resolution to the Florida League of Cities Transportation Committee and working with the communications department to create and enact a traffic safety education program for residents.

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