Sophia's Law honors victim in cross-walk crash; clears first legislative hurdle

The family of a girl killed in a Brevard County Crosswalk is calling for state-wide changes to over-haul all the crosswalks that use the same technology.

Until now, Sophia Nelson’s parents have been behind the scenes. FOX 35 News has talked with her dad a few times and he’s declined on-camera interviews.

On Thursday, his grief and his calls for action were on full display for lawmakers and the media.

"After she was hit, I had a brief moment to hold her in my arms and say goodbye," Mark Nelson said to The Florida House State Affairs Committee about the accident that turned his life upside down.

The day his 12-year-old daughter was struck down was December 22. Sophia was just a little too far into the crosswalk, an oncoming car didn't stop- even though the lights were flashing.

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Now the Nelson family, Brevard County Commissioners, and State Representative Randy Fine are calling for the lights to be modified so that they’ll turn solid red when the button is pushed.

House Bill 1371 is called "Sophia’s Law." It passed through the committee after Thursday's presentation. If it keeps moving through the capital and eventually makes it to the Governor’s desk and is signed- 191 crosswalks in the state, like the one Sophia was in on A1A in Satellite Beach will be changed. 

Rep. Blaise Ingolia told the Nelsons, "I think I can speak for the whole house...that we are all very deeply, deeply sorry for your loss."

Upgrading the crosswalks would cost the state millions of dollars.

The Florida Department of Transportation and Brevard County’s Transportation Authority were taking the position that more education about the crosswalks is needed- not a total retro-fit project.