POLK COUNTY, Fla. — A 25-year-old Argentinean woman who fatally struck a 13-year-old girl Wednesday morning did not have a valid driver's license and was living in the United States on an expired visa, the Polk County Sheriff's Office said.
Deputies said Mariana Perez Borroto, of Kissimmee, was bicycling to Lake Marion Creek Middle School shortly after 7:45 a.m. when she was hit by a minivan being driven by Micaela Coronel on Homosassa Road.
Investigators said Borroto, who was critically injured, was flown to Orlando's Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital, where she died. She would have turned 14 in two weeks.
Coronel said she had been living in Kissimmee since October on a "visitor pass" and provided deputies an Argentinian identification card, but she did not have a valid driver's license in either country, deputies said.
Coronel said that about 80 percent of her windshield was covered in condensation when she struck Borroto, investigators said. They said she was driving her child to school when she crashed.
"She should have thought about the impact on her family before she operated that motor vehicle without a license, without cleaning the windshield," Sheriff Grady Judd said. "She was careless. She was negligent, and there's a 13-year-old child (who is) dead today."
Coronel was arrested on charges of operating a motor vehicle without a valid driver's license causing death.
Judd said she will be sentenced and deported should she be convicted.
Lake Marion Creek Middle School Principal Johna Jozwiak released the following statement:
"Our hearts are broken today. We are devastated by the loss of a very special member of our Lake Marion Creek Middle family. Mariana was a bright and sweet-natured girl who possessed a very polite and calm manner. She enjoyed studying history and loved spending her free time sketching in notebooks. We are devastated by this tragic news. Counselors are available at school for students and staff members. We have also rescheduled the rest of this week's Florida Standards Assessments testing to next week."
The crash remains under investigation.
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