Driver runs light, hits teen

15-year-old Katie Wood was on her way to school when the accident occurred on Busch Boulevard.

Published January 4, 2006

TAMPA - A 15-year-old Chamberlain High School sophomore was in surgery at St. Joseph's Children's Hospital, her condition critical, after a Tampa man ran a red light and hit her as she crossed a busy street trying to get to campus.

The family of Katie Wood was at St. Joseph's Wednesday morning, awaiting word from doctors.

Tampa police cited Alfredo Fierro, 53, for running the red light on westbound Busch Boulevard at North Boulevard, but they did not charge him criminally.

"He may have been careless, but it doesn't rise to the level of reckless and wanton disregard for human life," said Tampa police spokeswoman Laura McElroy.

Lt. Brett Bartlett said Fierro was driving his Izuzu pickup west on Busch Boulevard in the outside lane at 6:45 a.m. Wood, who is physically disabled and normally takes a bus from her nearby home on North Boulevard to Chamberlain, decided Wednesday morning to walk to school.

As she crossed Busch Boulevard, from the southeast corner of North Boulevard to the northeast corner, the light was red, police said. But Fierro, on his way to work, told police he did not see the light. He was going 35 to 40 mph, within the posted speed limit.

"He said all of a sudden he saw a girl and he couldn't stop fast enough," McElroy said.

The impact threw woods across North Boulevard, about 40 to 50 feet, Bartlett said.

Paramedics rushed her to St. Joseph's.