Truck hits 3 kids; 2 die
The truck's driver swerved to avoid hitting another vehicle.
By ALEXANDRA ZAYAS
Published March 20, 2007
SUN CITY CENTER - A pickup truck swerved to avoid hitting another car on Interstate 75 Sunday evening. Instead, it struck three children, killing two of them and seriously injuring the other, the Florida Highway Patrol reported Monday.
The kids, part of a group of 10 people traveling in two cars, had been waiting in the median while a driver fixed a flat tire on the inside shoulder, a few miles south of the Sun City Center exit.
As they waited, Jorge Garcia, 47, was traveling north on the interstate with his wife and three daughters. The vehicles in front of him slowed to look at the stopped cars. Garcia, who didn't anticipate the slowdown, swerved left, said Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Larry Coggins.
That's when Garcia hit the broken-down 1991 Mazda sedan and three of the kids standing around it, Coggins said.
Leona Paul, 14, of Lakeland died at the scene. Austin Cox, 10, of Auburndale died at Tampa General Hospital. Skylar Richardson, 14, was in critical condition Monday at Tampa General Hospital.
Four other children were in the disabled car when it was hit. Brandon Paul, 11, Carl Wilmouth, 5, Cheyenne Wilmouth, 8, and Elizabeth Wilmouth, 6, suffered minor injuries.
Garcia and his family members were not injured.
The case is under investigation, and charges are pending. Criminal charges are not expected, Coggins said. No alcohol or drugs were involved, he said.
Information from the Bradenton Herald was used in this report.
[Last modified March 20, 2007, 06:20:21]
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