MIRAMAR (CBS4) – Friends and neighbors are mourning the loss of a 49-year-old Miramar woman who was struck and killed Wednesday night by a tractor trailer while she was using her electric wheelchair.
“It’s devastating. It’s killing me. It’s killing. She was a sweetheart to everybody,” said the victim’s friend, Abraham Doumbouya.
Miramar Police spokeswoman Tania Rues told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “It appears the driver of the tractor trailer was unaware that he hit her and he dragged her quite a bit of distance.”
She told D’Oench the accident happened around 10 p.m. Wednesday night as the driver of a tractor trailer was making a turn to go southbound on University Drive near Miramar Parkway.
Rues said a motorist flagged down the driver of the tractor trailer after noticing sparks from accident-related debris flying from his truck.
“That driver was apparently very distraught,” said Rues. The driver is not being identified. No charges have been filed and while it appears that this incident was an accident, Rues said this case is still an open investigation.
Doumbouya and other friends and neighbors said Diana Gonzalez was a fixture on University Drive. She was often seen riding her electric wheelchair from her apartment at Pines Place near Pembroke Road up and down University Drive to see friends and stop.
“I would see her all the time and sometimes I would stop and push her wheelchair. Sometimes I would help put her wheelchair in my car and drive her home,” said Doumbouya. “One time she told me her wheelchair was her legs, but that never should have happened,” he said. “Sometimes she would go to Walmart at 12:30 in the morning where there were no lights and it was pitch dark.”
“She was such a sweet lady. She sometimes wanted to do barbecues to feed everyone. She was always in good spirits. She lifted my spirits up.
Sometimes when I would feel down and I would see her paralyzed and in a wheelchair and she still had the joys of life,” Doumbouya said.
“That’s very sad,” said neighbor Brian McQueen. “I used to see her arrive here and go back and forth from Pines Place all the time.
“She was very quiet and but she would go back and forth all the time on her electric wheelchair,” said Satora.
Another neighbor, Diane Davis, said, “I always saw her going to the store in her electric wheelchair. I am very sorry to hear that. She was always in her wheel chair going everywhere. She was not afraid to go anywhere.”
Gonzalez made news recently when the battery of her electric wheelchair died and she was stranded, two Miramar Police officers came to her aid.
Rues said “I was fortunate enough to meet her a month and a half ago and she always had a smile on her face. She mentioned to me she had an angel helping her.”