Sheriff: Woman driving without license hits, kills 13-year-old girl on way to school

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(Polk County Sheriff's Office)

A woman who was driving without a valid license is accused of fatally hitting a 13-year-old girl Wednesday morning as the teen was riding her bike to school.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office arrested 25-year-old Micaela Coronel from Argentina. Investigators said she had been staying in the Kissimmee area.

According to deputies, Coronel was driving a minivan around 7:50 a.m. Wednesday when she struck 13-year-old Mariana Perez Borroto in the Poinciana/Kissimmee area.

The eighth grader was on her way to Lake Marion Creek Middle School when she was hit. Borroto was airlifted to Orlando's Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital, where she later died.

Coronel told deputies she has been in the U.S. on a "visitor pass" since October of 2018. She presented an Argentinian identification card to investigators.

"She does not have a Florida driver's license, and deputies determined through their investigation that she does not have a valid driver's license at all," the sheriff's office said.

Deputies said condensation covered approximately 80% of Coronel's windshield at the time of the crash, obstructing her view.

"This suspect should not have even been behind the wheel of a vehicle. This is an awful, senseless tragedy that should never have occurred," said Sheriff Grady Judd in a statement. "This beautiful child should be turning 14 years old in just two weeks, but for this suspect's illegal actions. Mariana's family and friends are in our prayers."

Coronel has been charged with operating a motor vehicle without a valid driver's license causing death, a third-degree felony.

The principal of Lake Marion Creek Middle School released the following statement:

"Our hearts are broken today. We are devastated by the loss of a very special member of our Lake Marion Creek Middle family. Mariana was a bright and sweet-natured girl who possessed a very polite and calm manner. She enjoyed studying history and loved spending her free time sketching in notebooks. We are devastated by this tragic news. Counselors are available at school for students and staff members. We have also rescheduled the rest of this week's Florida Standards Assessments testing to next week."