Pawtucket teen hit by car last week in critical condition; mom urges city to take action

Blackstone Valley

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Less than two years after her son was hit by a car, a Pawtucket woman’s daughter is now in critical condition after she, too, was struck by a driver last week.

Angela Strohl tells 12 News her 17-year-old daughter, Destinie “DJ” Oliveira, was hit by a car on George Bennett Highway just minutes after she snuck out of the house to meet a friend one night last week.

“My little girl can’t open her eyes,” Strohl said. “Her bones are healed fully with everything … so physically, there’s nothing wrong with her walking and doing every day normal things, but her brain may stop her from doing those things.”

Strohl said in the summer of 2019, her son, Joseph, was struck by a car while riding his bike less than a mile from where DJ was hit. At the time, Strohl said her son, who has special needs, broke his leg in two places, dislocated his knee and suffered a hematoma.

Following Joseph’s incident, the city responded to Strohl’s calls to fix the outdated signage on their street, which was converted into a one-way road several years prior.

But now, as her daughter fighting for her life, Strohl is urging the city to do more than change some signs around.

“How many more lives need to be at risk? How many more lives need to be taken before they do something to stop it from happening?” she questioned.

The city’s traffic division plans to conduct an analysis of the area in response to the incident.

“Traffic and pedestrian safety have always been a priority of the Administration and when a tragedy like this occurs, our hearts go out to the victim and their family,” city spokesperson Emily Rizzo said. “We know that this is a highly industrial corridor and rely on the Traffic Division of our Police Department to conduct a thorough traffic analysis and take a hard look at what is in place to protect our community.”

Strohl believes a traffic analysis isn’t enough, and she hopes the city will take meaningful action.

Police said two teens were hit in the April 14 incident; investigators said the other teen suffered “moderate” injuries. The driver did stay on scene, but police have not said whether they will face any charges.

The crash remains under investigation at this time.

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