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Student struck by car while walking home from Tampa school

Tampa police on scene investigating after a teenager walking home from the D.W. Waters Career Center in Central Tampa was struck by a car near 1209 E Osborne Ave. Monday afternoon.  [SKIP O'ROURKE | Times]
Tampa police on scene investigating after a teenager walking home from the D.W. Waters Career Center in Central Tampa was struck by a car near 1209 E Osborne Ave. Monday afternoon. [SKIP O'ROURKE | Times]
Published Aug. 26, 2014

TAMPA — An intoxicated driver ran over a teenager walking home on the sidewalk from school Monday afternoon in Seminole Heights, pinning the girl under the car and leaving her with serious burn injuries, police said.

Monesha McDuffie, 18, was transported to Tampa General Hospital. McDuffie is an 11th-grader at D.W. Waters Career Center, a public alternative school that offers vocational training. Her injuries were not life-threatening, police said.

The 23-year-old driver, Tampa resident Malik Majied, was arrested and charged with driving under the influence, causing great bodily injury, Tampa police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said.

Police said they were investigating how he became intoxicated. Majied, who has a history of drug arrests, also was charged with violating his probation for a previous marijuana charge.

The crash happened on E Osborne Avenue four blocks east of Nebraska Avenue. Police said Majied was driving eastbound in a rented sedan when he lost control and veered off the road.

After running over McDuffie, the car crashed into a fence between two houses.

That was when Melissa Hand, 30, who lives in one of those houses, ran outside and said she saw Majied, apparently unconscious, behind the wheel. When she heard a neighbor screaming that there was somebody under the car, Hand moved to the front of the vehicle and saw McDuffie's head sticking out, she said.

"I touched her head and I asked her if she could hear me," Hand recalled Monday afternoon. "She opened her eyes and she just started screaming."

Hand said she slid McDuffie from underneath the car and the girl's clothes ripped on the undercarriage. Emerging, McDuffie's skin was severely burned on her midsection, Hand said.

Police said McDuffie was burned when the car's oil pan burst on top of her. Clutching at her clothes, McDuffie said, "Take this off of me, it's burning," Hand said.

After Hand and other neighbors called 911, an ambulance arrived and shuttled McDuffie to the hospital.

The accident occurred a few blocks from the location where a 12-year-old girl on her bicycle was run over and killed by a van this month, stoking neighborhood fears about reckless driving and pedestrian safety.

Natalie Leonard was riding her bicycle just before 10 p.m. Aug. 1 when she was hit near N 15th Street and E Osborne Avenue and dragged 200 feet, according to police. The van's driver, Geraldo Rivera, was arrested on a charge of leaving the scene of a crash with death.

Cars are known to speed down E Osborne, which bisects a residential neighborhood teeming with school-age children.

"Every morning and every afternoon, this is where the kids walk," Hand said.

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Times news researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Contact Peter Jamison at pjamison@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3337. Follow @petejamison.