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District finds no fault yet in boy's accident

The 6-year-old boy who ran away from his St. Petersburg elementary school Tuesday morning is clinging to life at All Children's Hospital.

By THOMAS C. TOBIN
Published April 13, 2005


LARGO - Pinellas school officials said Wednesday they have found nothing yet that would have prevented 6-year-old E'Traveon Johnson from leaving the campus of his school Tuesday and crossing a busy street.

E'Traveon was clinging to life Wednesday afternoon, a day after he was struck by a car as he walked away from Fairmount Park Elementary in St. Petersburg. Edgar J. Guzman, a lawyer for the boy's family, said doctors at All Children's Hospital were administering medication to reduce brain swelling but that the outlook was bleak. He described the boy's situation as "minute by minute," adding "There is a small hope a miracle may happen."

The school district is still reeling from the deaths of two other students, Rebecca McKinney and Brooke Ingoldsby. Both girls were struck and killed earlier this school year after exiting district buses that dropped them off at improper locations.

The strain of yet a third serious accident showed during a news conference Wednesday. "This is all too sad for us," Pinellas school superintendent Clayton Wilcox said, near tears.

Wilcox used a grainy video from the school's security system to show that E'Traveon went from his bus to the school cafeteria, then down the corridor toward his classroom. The video showed him entering a portico near the entrance to his classroom, but darting back out into the corridor just 22 seconds later. Within seconds, he bolted toward a door at the end of the corridor and was outside the school.

He had no history of such behavior and was a "model student," Wilcox said.

No one at the school is assigned the task of continually monitoring the video system, he said.

Neither the substitute teacher nor the teaching assistant in E'Traveon's class recall the boy entering the classroom, Wilcox said. The principal of the school, Angelean Bing, looked down the corridor and saw him round the corner into the portico. There was no reason for her to doubt the boy had gone into the classroom, Wilcox said.

The boy's bus was about 10 minutes late, but Wilcox said that did not appear to have factored into the incident.

"To our knowledge, nothing out of the ordinary happened in this morning," Wilcox said. "Our initial review shows that there was the appropriate supervision."

He did not rule out the possibility that the district's continuing review of the accident would come to a different conclusion later. Asked whether the district did nothing wrong, he said: "I think it's too early for us to say that."

[Last modified April 13, 2005, 18:54:27]


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