‘Slow Down for Gabby’ event held to honor 15-year-old killed crossing Harrison Ave

Family of Gabby Rodriguez hold 'Slow Down for Gabby' event

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - It’s been almost two years since 15-year-old Gabby Rodriguez was hit and killed by a driver in Western Hills. Still no arrests have been made.

Thursday several dozen of Rodriguez’s loved-ones rallied to encourage drivers to slow down at the intersection of Harrison Avenue and Hansford Place, near where the crash occurred.

Some held signs, one of which read ‘Slow Down For Gabby.’ Others brought flowers and balloons to add to Rodriguez’s memorial.

“Sundays used to be softball days with Gabby,” Rodriguez’s mother, Shawna said. “Now they are cemetery days.”

Shawna continued: “I miss her laugh. I miss her smile.”

Gabriella Rodriguez, the Western Hills student that was struck and killed by a vehicle Monday morning. (Source: Cincinnati Public Schools)
Gabriella Rodriguez, the Western Hills student that was struck and killed by a vehicle Monday morning. (Source: Cincinnati Public Schools)

Authorities say Rodriguez died on Sept. 10, 2018 after being hit by two cars crossing Harrison Avenue. She was reportedly trying to catch a school bus around 6:44 a.m. on the day it happened.

The first driver stopped, police said at the time, but the second driver who hit her took off.

Cincinnati police were looking for a white Toyota Corolla potentially connected to the hit-and-run afterwards. They later said that it may have been a white Honda Civic.

“There was a tragedy here,” said Brian Garry with Slow Down Cincinnati. “What makes it even more tragic is that it was avoidable. Gabby didn’t have to die.”

Also at the rally Thursday was Dystinie Snapp, mother of Matthew Garza, who is recovering after he was struck by a car in early July.

“I knew her mother wasn’t as lucky as I was,” Snapp said.

“It’s a shame that mothers connect by a hit-and-run,” Shawna added. “We should just connect because we have similar interests.”

But the pall of pedestrian safety hangs over both women, and they can only hope it doesn’t reach another.

To that end, those at the rally advocated for the creation of a cross walk over Harrison Avenue’s four lanes near the spot where Rodriguez was struck.

“It’s still happening,” Shawna said, “so we can’t afford to let the light go away on the issue.”

Every year in Rodriguez’s memory, Shawna also hosts the Gabby Rodriguez Softball Tournament with 12 person teams.

The goal of the tournament, which was held in 2019 at Western Hills University High School, was to raise funds for the Gabby Rodriguez Foundation, which will include a scholarship in Gabby’s name and a foundation that focuses on pedestrian safety.

This year the tournament will be held Sept. 12.

CPD District 3 says there are no updates on the search for the driver who struck Rodriguez but ask anyone with information to come forward by calling Crime Stoppers at (513) 352-3040.

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