ELMONT - A seventh-grade girl was struck by a car and killed around the block from her school Monday morning.
Family members say 12-year-old Gabrielle Johnson was crossing Elmont Road at Village Avenue around 7:30 a.m. when she was struck. She was on her way to class at Elmont Memorial Junior-Senior High School when police say a 2013 Nissan Rogue struck her.
Relatives say Johnson was walking with her twin sister Courtney, who witnessed the entire incident but was uninjured.
Witnesses say the Nissan seemed to be traveling at a high rate of speed. "It sounded even more brutal than a car hitting another car, it was just full-on impact," says witness Phillip Toussaint, of Elmont. "Then I looked up and saw the girl's body flying in the air."
Police say Johnson was hit in the intersection, but was not walking in the designated crosswalk. The driver, a 38-year-old man from East Rockaway, stopped and stayed at the scene.
Nassau police say there doesn't appear to be any criminality involved, but homicide squad members are still investigating.
According to family members, Johnson loved to run track, swim and play volleyball. She also played flute in band. "She was just a star. She was so loveable, so lovely, so beautiful," says Johnson's aunt.
Counselors were brought in at Elmont Junior-Senior High School to help grieving students.
Police helped students cross Elmont Road as class was dismissed at the end of the day. Some students who spoke with News 12 questioned why there isn't normally a crossing guard at the intersection because they say it's a common crossing spot.
Nassau police tell News 12 that they will be working with the school district and will monitor the intersection. They note that there is a crossing guard stationed about a quarter of a mile away, at a different intersection.