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"The cars wouldn't slow down:" Lehigh Acres woman hit by car demands safer roads

A woman was severely injured last Sunday morning when a car hit her and her partner on foot. Her partner was killed.
Posted at 7:04 PM, Jun 11, 2024

LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. — Another Lehigh Acres family who lost a family member to yet another deadly crash in the area is demanding safer roads.

"I dragged myself over to the side of the street, and they also helped me because the cars wouldn't slow down," Catalina Villas said.

She said, it's the first thing she remembers from the impact of a car hitting her and her partner, Jose Luis Ortiz Hernandez.

The couple walked back from Walmart like any other day since they don't own a car. They moved to Lehigh Acres three months ago from Miami.

Lee Boulevard and Xelda Avenue Lehigh Acres fatal crash June 2024
This is the intersection in Lehigh Acres where yet another person was killed as the result of a car crash. On June 9, a couple in their mid-30's was crossing the road on foot, when a 22-year-old driver from Ft Myers hit the pair. The man was killed; the woman was seriously injured. State Troopers are investigating.

However, Villa's world quickly changed early Sunday morning.

They tried to cross Lee Boulevard and Xelda Avenue when a car hit them both.

State troopers say the Fort Myers driver was just 22 years old; her passenger was 25, also from Fort Myers.

Troopers say Villa and Hernandez did not cross in a cross walk, but the crash is still under investigation, and the preliminary crash report below is what was released so far.

Villa's daughter, Kasandra Gonzalez, said a witness called her.

Gonzalez recalled the conversation, "She'd seen the bodies fly. She claimed that she herself was going 70 miles per hour, so she said imagine the other cars."

The posted speed limit is 45mph.

Ortiz Hernandez helped raise Gonzalez and was like grandfather to her three young children. She said Ortiz Hernandez moved here from Mexico to provide a better life for his family there.

Gonzalez described him as, "Loving, caring. He loved music. He knew how to play the piano."

Villas and Gonzalez now want to prevent this from happening to anyone else.

"Slow down, slow down. People that walk matter," Gonzalez pleaded.

pedestrians hit by car lehigh
A woman was severely injured Sunday morning when a car hit her and her partner. Her partner died on impact. While she recovers from her severe injuries, she demands change for road safety in Lehigh.

While Villas recovers in the hospital with a broken arm and knee, she wants more speeding enforcement in Lehigh.

"It's like a highway. The cars are always going over the limit," Villa added.

She's also trying to send her partner's body back to Mexico for his funeral. Find more information on how to help here.

"His dreams were always to go to Mexico, but me and him together and not for him to go like this. Now, I have to send my husband's body to Mexico," Villas said.