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Mother, friends cope with 5-year-old's death

By CARRIE JOHNSON, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 10, 2002

HOMOSASSA -- Jennelle Page said she'll never know why her 5-year-old son Justin decided to cross Cardinal Street, a busy Homosassa highway, on Thursday afternoon.

Page, 25, was chatting with friend Melissa Fleming in the living room of Fleming's Jay Lee Point home when she heard a crash and a thud. Her son had been outside playing with his 2-year-old sister, Shannon, and Fleming's son, Justin Wolfe, 7.

"I was hoping the kids were just playing with rocks," Page said.

But it was not to be. Page rushed outside and saw her son lying, lifeless, on the side of the road. He had just been struck by a Chevrolet Cavalier traveling west on Cardinal.

The driver, 19-year-old Pamela Koup, was found to be not at fault for the accident and does not face any charges, Citrus County Sheriff's deputies said.

Page said contrary to what authorities reported, she did not send her son across the busy street to get a neighbor's mail.

Fleming said it was her son who accidentally grabbed the wrong mail, and she sent him back to the mailbox to replace it.

But the mailboxes are on the same side of Cardinal as Fleming's residence, which means there was no need for the boy to cross.

"I guess it was just his time to go," Page said. "That's the only thing I can think of."

Justin Wolfe watched everything from the side of the road, where he had been holding back Shannon to prevent her from following her big brother.

He told his mother he doesn't know why his friend ran into the street.

"He's having a pretty tough time right now," Fleming said. "He feels like he should have been there to save him."

Page said her son was a bright, energetic boy who loved playing soccer and T-ball.

Friends have set up a memorial fund to help the single mother, who works at Discount Auto Parts, pay for a headstone and casket. Donations can be made through Faith Baptist Church of Homosassa Springs or Homosassa Springs Bank, Page said.

A memorial service will be held Tuesday at 2 p.m. at Hooper Funeral Home, 8505 W Grover Cleveland Blvd. in Homosassa.

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