VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – A resident at a homeless shelter in DeLand was fatally struck Monday morning while she was on her way to start her first day at a new job, according to First Step Shelter.
The Florida Highway Patrol said the 30-year-old woman was crossing International Speedway Boulevard near Red John Drive at about 6:45 a.m. but ran back into the road to pick up an item she’d dropped.
Records show a 20-year-old DeLand man driving a pickup truck hit the woman as she was in the street.
The victim, who is from Indianapolis, died at Halifax Health Medical Center shortly after 8 a.m.
Dr. Victoria Fahlberg, the executive director at First Step Shelter, said the victim was trying to get to a bus stop so she could get to her first day of work at her new job.
“Everyone here at First Step is grieving her loss. She has only been here since January 5th but has already made some good friends. She was working hard and doing what she needed to do to make a new life for herself. We feel devastated,” Fahlberg wrote in a statement.
Fahlberg said the resident was friendly and was working hard to turn her life around. She was excited for her new warehouse job and shelter employees had even taken her recently to get a new pair of boots.
She said since the shelter opened at 3889 W. International Speedway Blvd. about a year ago, residents have struggled to access public transportation.
In a news release, she said residents need to cross International Speedway Boulevard to go to DeLand and the nearest bus stop heading toward Daytona Beach is across Highway 92 or down the road about half a mile at Colin Kelly Road.
“They don’t even have a sidewalk or a crosswalk. The speed limit here is 65 mph. Besides the danger in crossing the road, many of our residents use bicycles to get to work and we worry all the time that someone will get hurt. It’s past time to provide a safe way for residents to commute safely,” Fahlberg said.
She added that she’s been advocating for a bus stop to be added closer to the shelter.
The crash remains under investigation.