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Criminal charges loom for driver in death of neighbor boy, 3

The man did not have a valid driver's license and had drugs in his home, authorities say.

By Times Staff Writer
Published February 9, 2007


RIVERVIEW - The driver of a truck that struck and killed a 3-year-old boy Wednesday at the Alafia Riverwoods Mobile Home Park faces four criminal charges, according to the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office.

Deputies say Pete Dreydoppel, 52, did not have a valid driver's license when he struck next-door neighbor Edward Francis Gould III, a toddler who was pushing a toy truck through the mobile home park. Edward died at the scene of his injuries as his mother looked on.

Dreydoppel, 6521 Riverview Drive, Lot 5, also had a warrant for charges of operating an unregistered vehicle, jail records show. When deputies searched his home after the accident, they found drug paraphernalia and marijuana, said sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter.

The case is still under investigation by the Sheriff's Office, she said. Dreydoppel was held Thursday at Orient Road Jail on $3,500 bail.

News of Dreydoppel's charges was little consolation to the Goulds, family friend Tami Gonzalez said. After the crash, the family went to stay with relatives. They plan to leave the mobile home park permanently, in compliance with eviction papers they received hours before Wednesday's accident.

Because the boy died steps from the Goulds' porch, parents Gail and Edward Gould Jr. said they didn't want to stay, anyway.

"Do you want to walk out the door and that's the first thing you see?" Gonzalez said. "No one wants that."

Gonzalez helped set up a fund through a bank to assist the family with funeral expenses. Donations can be sent to Edward Gould III Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 1703, Valrico, FL 33595, with checks made out to the Edward Gould III Memorial Fund.

The Goulds have two living children, ages 2 and 2 months. Edward Gould Jr. builds screen enclosures with Gonzalez Screens.

[Last modified February 9, 2007, 06:23:27]

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