MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Students at Miami Norland Senior High School are mourning a 14-year-old student who lost his life Tuesday while riding his bicycle to school in Miami Gardens.
“He was quiet, didn’t talk as much. He was a really, like funny person — he used to make everybody laugh,” 10th grader Marri Wilson said.
Wilson went to middle school with the teenage boy, identified as Bao Tran, and described him as an overall kind person.
“One moment you can be here … and (the) next moment, you’re not here no more,” Wilson said.
On Wednesday, Tran’s mother spoke to Local 10 News reporter Sanela Sabovic and said her family came to the U.S. four years ago and her son planned to go back to Vietnam after he turned 18. She said he wanted to send money there to help the poor.
According to his mother, Tran chose to ride his bike to school so his mother didn’t have to get up early because he acknowledged how hard she worked.
The crash was reported just before 6:30 a.m. Tuesday in the 200 block of Northwest 199th Street.
Tran’s mangled bike and the white van that struck him were spotted at the scene when a Local 10 News crew arrived.
Police confirmed that Tran was heading to school when he was struck by the van.
He was airlifted to a local hospital where he died.
Traffic in the area was shut down for several hours.
According to police, the van was pulling out of a parking lot when it hit the teen.
The driver remained at the scene and was spotted speaking with officers before he was allowed to leave.
The van is registered to Leza’s Plumbing Corporation, which operates out of a Hialeah office building. Staff there declined to speak with Local 10 News.
It’s unclear whether the driver will face charges.
Last year, Tran attended Andover Middle School where he was part of a program that stressed bike safety for kids. Family members have set up a GoFundMe page to help with final expenses.
On Tuesday, officers used this case as a reminder to other drivers to always be on the lookout.
“Just be vigilant of pedestrians crossing the street or crossing a road way, so that accidents like this do not happen,” Miami Gardens police spokeswoman Diana Delgado-Gourgue said.