A day after a 19-year-old skateboarder was killed when a car slammed into her, frustrated residents, emotional North Miami Beach city leaders and her grieving mother vowed her death would not be in vain.
Jacqueline Postrel-Jambor was skateboarding in her Highland Village neighborhood when a Ford sedan smashed into her. The driver, who police did not identify, managed to continue about 100 feet with Postrel-Jambor on the roof, residents say.
As neighbors rushed out to help, the driver stayed at the scene and cooperated with police.
While police have not said whether speed was a factor in the Sunday afternoon accident and no one has been charged, residents in the trailer and mobile home community say the narrow streets often are used as a racetrack and the 15-mph signs ignored.
“This was a tragedy waiting to happen,” said resident Jim Baxter, who has been pushing for speed bumps to slow down drivers. “We have been trying to get things done for years.”
Elizabeth Jambor, who had mustered up the strength to walk from her trailer to the spot where her daughter died the day before, struggled to keep her composure as police and city leaders tried to comfort her in her grief.
“I dont know what to say because I was supposed to die first,” said Jambor, who broke down in tears. “I was supposed to die first. I don’t want her in heaven. I want her here with me.”
The teen, who was studying for her GED at Miami Dade College, had just returned a few weeks ago to South Florida after spending about a month with her cancer-stricken father in Virginia, Jambor said. She was at his bedside, helping to care for him until he died in February in hospice care.
“It was very important for her to be with him,” Jambor said. “She was just getting back into her routine.”
She said her daughter was on her way home from Starbucks around 4:30 p.m. when she was struck at the intersection of Northeast 23rd Avenue and 137th Street.
“She went the long way because she didn’t want to go by the store on the corner,” Jambor said. Drunks usually hung out there and bothered her, according to her mother.
Police have released little about the crash, saying they are not releasing the name of the driver because he has not been charged.
Thomas Ulysse was in his house sleeping when he heard a loud boom. He ran outside and saw the girl on the vehicle’s roof.
“I touched her face and said baby, baby look at me,” he said. “There was too much blood.”
City leaders addressed residents’ concerns over speeding, drugs and other recurring problems in Highland Village, located east of Biscayne Boulevard and north of Northeast 135th Street.
“We are on a mission to make things better here for Jacqui,” said North Miami Beach City Manager Ana Garcia.
Garcia cried with Jambor, and promised that North Miami Beach would have “zero tolerance” for speeders in the neighborhood. Garcia, who has been with the city for seven months, said police already have begun radar operations and other efforts in the community, which has a lot of snowbirds.
“We will give everyone tickets,” she said.
City council member Marlen Martell said she had been meeting with residents in the community the day before the accident, and already had heard about speeding and other concerns.
“It’s so unfortunate, but it usually takes something this dramatic to bring a change,” said Martell. “And things are going to change.”
Residents are stepping up to help. On Monday, they stood alongside city leaders in the street warning drivers to slow down.
Three separate memorials have popped up on the street since the accident — a stuffed cow, candles and a pink feather boa.
Jambor pointed at the spot where she held her daughter for the last time.
“I didn’t want her on the street anymore,” she said, struggling to catch her breath. “I told them to get her out of the street.”