Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Public safety

Mother grieves for girl struck by car on Busch Boulevard

TAMPA

The sisters picked wildflowers for their mother as they walked to the store Sunday.

The delicate pink petals were in 12-year-old Jazmine Shubbar's back pocket when a sport utility vehicle hit her little sister on Busch Boulevard. She didn't pull them out until later, as they waited at the hospital where 8-year-old Jayla Shubbar died.

On Tuesday, as Jayla's mom, Darcien, questioned how she would pay for cremation, the flowers, now in a bag, had not yet dried.

She held the bag open and inhaled.

Shubbar cries spontaneously. She clutches her daughter's toys. She watches cellphone videos of Jayla dancing and singing.

She limps on a black-and-blue foot, which she injured as she ran to Jayla's broken body.

Shubbar, 31, wants people to know about Jayla's joy, how she loved dancing to Michael Jackson and selling Girl Scout cookies.

Shubbar has faced criticism in recent days. She feels judged by authorities. The girls were crossing Busch, near 14th Street, alone.

Their mother knew. They had her permission.

Shubbar said she taught her daughters how to safely cross Busch, even though there was no crosswalk or stoplight. She did it with them several times before she agreed to let them go on their own.

She never imagined this could happen.

The Department of Children and Families said Tuesday that it was not investigating.

Tampa police say they do not plan to charge Stacey Goode, 37, the driver of the Honda Pilot that hit Jayla. The girl was jaywalking, they say.

On Tuesday, a man in a suit sat on Darcien Shubbar's couch.

"It was a very preventable tragedy," that man, lawyer Bill Sublette, told a reporter.

Shubbar says it was God's plan. Jayla was too beautiful for this world, she said.

Jazmine is now an only child. Her bright smile on Tuesday masks her feelings, Shubbar said. Jazmine wakes up in the night screaming, "No! No!"

Shubbar heard that officials plan to put in a crosswalk at Busch and 12th Street, just two blocks from where Jayla was hit. It had been in the works for months, though officials had not broken ground.

Shubbar doesn't want to think about "what-ifs."

What if the crosswalk had already been installed?

What if she had not let her daughters walk across the street alone?

"I'm not a passive mother," she said. "But I can't say I would have done it differently. I didn't know."

Times news researcher John Martin contributed to this report.

 
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