Principal: Student killed in hit-and-run helped create girl's softball field

Gabriella Rodriguez killed on Harrison Avenue

CINCINNATI -- A year ago, Gabriella Rodriguez went to the principal of her high school and told him the girl’s softball team needed its own field. 

Dr. Carlos Blair, principal of Western Hills High School, said that’s how Rodriguez was; she was direct, proactive and an excellent athlete. She was so proactive, in fact, that the field will be ready later this year. 

But Rodriguez will never get to play on the field she helped build. The 15-year-old sophomore was hit and killed by a driver on Harrison Avenue as she was running to catch her bus Monday morning. 

Rodriguez fell in the street when she was bumped by the mirror of a silver minivan, police said. When she tried to get back up, she was hit by a person driving a white Honda Civic. Police previously said it was a Toyota Corolla.

The driver hit her near Sarvis Court, near the border between North Fairmount and East Westwood, at about 6:30 a.m. as she was running to catch her Metro bus. Police are still looking for the driver.

Blair said Rodriguez was an excellent student with a great sense of humor. He said she reminded him last year that the girl’s softball team was winning championships and that the team could use their own field. 

“Unfortunately, she won’t be able to play on that field,” Blair said. “Our hearts are very heavy right now.” 

Rodriguez was outgoing, and “many of the students loved her dearly,” Blair said. Some decorated the chain-link fence bordering the field with her name and jersey number when they learned of her death.

“That’s what really makes it even more difficult to deal with, because of her popularity and outgoing spirit,” Blair said.

The field, which is adjacent to Dater High School, had to be revamped in order to get it up and running for the girl’s softball team. 

Blair said he would like to dedicate a part of the field or create a plaque in Rodriguez’s honor. 

A crisis team of psychologists and therapists will be at Western Hills High School Monday for students and staff.

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