Listening to his iPod, a male USF student walked across a crosswalk on Maple Drive around 11 a.m. Tuesday – cars yielding to him and other pedestrians.
He wasn’t prepared for what happened next.
He looked down at his music when a car’s bumper smacked his left knee, causing the vehicle’s right headlight to crash onto the street pavement.
“(I was) crossing because the other cars stopped in one line and this car came out of nowhere and wasn’t even paying attention and just hit me,” said the victim, who will remain anonymous.
The car’s right front tire ran over his left foot, he said, and he stumbled.
“The (driver) had their window down and (was) like, ‘oh crap’ … I could still walk, but I was limping.”
With the victim’s hands on the hood of the car, the driver paused briefly and then fled the scene, according to a police report.
However, University Police (UP) arrested USF student Wanda Ivette Rodriguez, 23, on campus Wednesday around 10 a.m. and charged her with a third-degree felony of leaving the scene of a crash with an injury.
UP received a call from a witness about two hours after the accident, said UP spokeswoman Lt. Meg Ross.
“That’s great for us. We were able to identify the driver and make the arrest,” Ross said. “We keep talking about we need our community force.”
The police report said both the victim and witness gave “identical accounts” of the incident. Rodriguez admitted to striking the victim.
The victim left the Campus Recreation Center before 11 a.m. and was walking alone to class on campus, but other pedestrians were walking behind him when the accident occurred.
“I was in shock and like, ‘Oh well, I’m all right.’ And then I started to try and walk, but it didn’t really happen,” he said.
He said he attended class and then went to the emergency room around 6 p.m., where doctors gave him a boot and crutches.
X-rays made it difficult to show if anything was broken, he said, and his foot is still swollen and black and blue.
In the three years he has attended USF, this experience makes him question safety on campus.
“I don’t think it’s very safe at all because everybody is just rushing all the time to try to find a parking spot,” he said. “I actually almost got hit again on the way back from class. Another (woman) was driving and wasn’t paying attention, and I had to stop or she would have hit me.”
Rodriguez was released from jail late Wednesday after someone paid 10 percent of her $2,000 bond.
Ross said Rodriguez must appear in court for the judicial process to determine her sentence.
Rodriguez did not return phone calls Wednesday.