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Family, friends remember 12-year-old girl struck by vehicle in Satellite Beach

Sophia Nelson fatally struck near Ellwood Avenue

SATELLITE BEACH, Fla. – About 300 people lined the beach Sunday at Pelican Park in Satellite Beach just after sundown to remember Sophia Nelson, the 12-year-old girl struck by a vehicle in a State Road A1A mid-block crosswalk last week.

As darkness fell, cell phones flickered with light as a steady flow of mourners zig-zagged along the board walk to the beach, according to News 6 partner Florida Today. Those gathered were somber, some with arms folded, others looking around and hugging one another. The surf pounded away in the background as a sea mist rolled in beneath overcast skies.

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Mark and Jill Nelson stood on the boardwalk and listened to prayers and songs as their daughter’s life was recalled.

“Thanks everybody,” Mark Nelson told the crowd as he held a glowing crystal angel statute.

A Sunday evening vigil was held at Pelican Beach Park in Satellite Beach in memory of Sophia Nelson. The 12-year-old died from injuries sustained after being struck by a car at pedestrian crosswalk on A1A on December 22. TIM SHORTT/FLORIDA TODAY
A Sunday evening vigil was held at Pelican Beach Park in Satellite Beach in memory of Sophia Nelson. The 12-year-old died from injuries sustained after being struck by a car at pedestrian crosswalk on A1A on December 22. TIM SHORTT/FLORIDA TODAY

The crowd sang “Silent Night” and then held up lights, cellphones and stood in silence in Sophia’s memory.

The incident happened at 5:37 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 22. Satellite Beach police reported that Sophia Nelson was hit by a northbound vehicle near Ellwood Avenue.

The sixth-grader at Surfside Elementary was taken to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando, where her organs were later donated on Christmas Day to help save the lives of four other children, according to her father.

Sophia Nelson, 12, was struck and killed while using a crosswalk on A1A in Satellite Beach. (Image courtesy Nelson family)
Sophia Nelson, 12, was struck and killed while using a crosswalk on A1A in Satellite Beach. (Image courtesy Nelson family)

Nelson said his daughter pressed the button at the crosswalk and activated the lights. The oncoming vehicle did not stop and struck her, he said.

Saturday, nearly 100 people gathered at the site of the crash to call attention to the pedestrian crosswalk and to advocate for a different kind of warning system that would alert drivers.