St. Petersburg girl, 17, fatally struck while standing on sidewalk

Police said a driver caused the crash by trying to make a left turn from the center lane of southbound Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street N.
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Check for the latest breaking news and updates. [ Times ]
Published Dec. 23, 2019|Updated Dec. 24, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG — A 17-year-old girl standing on a sidewalk was fatally struck by a vehicle in a crash that took place Monday afternoon on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street N near Third Avenue N, according to St. Petersburg police.

The crash took place at about 4:45 p.m., police said. A 2014 Jeep Patriot driven by Lynnsey Terepka, 29, was headed south in the curb lane of King Street. A 2014 Ford Mustang driven by Kayla Enget, 28, was also driving south in the center lane of King Street.

As the vehicles approached Third Avenue N, police said the Mustang attempted to turn left from the center lane of King Street. The Mustang struck the Jeep, then drove onto the sidewalk at the southeast corner of the intersection where Liamar Matos-Gonzalez was standing, police said.

The Mustang struck Matos-Gonzalez and propelled her into a tree, police said, fatally injuring her.

The investigation is ongoing. All lanes of traffic were re-opened.

Matos-Gonzalez lived in Guyama, Puerto Rico, before moving to St. Petersburg, according to her Facebook page. She went by the nickname Lia.

She worked at a Publix downtown before transferring to another one near the crash site, employees at the first store said. (They directed further questions to a Publix spokesman, who did not respond to multiple calls.) On Facebook, she “liked” pop music, scary movies and the Finding Nemo character Dory.

A reporter could not reach her family members for this story, but some relatives took to Facebook to mourn her. One prayed for understanding and wisdom. Another identified himself as her father and said his family was going through “the most immense pain in the world.” Dozens commented, offering hugs and strength.

At the end of his post, written in Spanish, Matos-Gonzalez’s father offered a verse from the book of Job: “Desnudo salí del vientre de mi madre, y desnudo volveré allá. Jehová dio, y Jehová quitó; sea el nombre de Jehová bendito.”

Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.