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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Teens who died in crash had just started dating
The two Land O'Lakes students killed in a wreck met in August.
By HELEN ANNE TRAVIS, Times Staff Writer
Published November 29, 2007
Rebecca McCann, 16, worked at Sweetbay as a cashier.
David Osteen, 18, also worked at Sweetbay as a bagger.
LAND O'LAKES - They met in August, but they lived most of their lives in mobile homes separated by only a half-mile of bumpy dirt road. She was a cashier at a Sweetbay Supermarket. He was a bagger.
The Land O'Lakes High School students started dating three weeks ago and planned to have seven kids. She wanted to be a nurse but didn't think she was smart enough for college. He would graduate this year and had called a few art schools.
Tuesday about 2:30 p.m., Rebecca McCann sent her mom a text message and asked if she could eat dinner at her boyfriend David Osteen's house. A few minutes later, David, 18, tried to pass a vehicle on Handcart Road, south of San Antonio. His tire blew out before he could get back in his lane. His Honda Accord spun and collided with an oncoming Kia Sedona.
David and his 16-year-old girlfriend died at the scene.
The Kia's driver, Connie Johns, 41, was airlifted to St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa and treated for minor injuries. Johns could not be reached Wednesday.
Rebecca and David's parents met for the first time Wednesday morning. Rebecca's mom, Penny Manley, walked over to let David's folks know she didn't blame their son.
"It was just an accident," Manley said.
That afternoon, on the tiny screen of a digital camcorder, Manley watched a recording of her daughter singing at church. Rebecca had the voice of a pop star and a white scrunchie around her wrist. Manley's hand shook as she held the video camera.
Rebecca wrote songs and poems about God and a friend who recently died from overdosing on sleeping pills.
David always had pencils and a note pad in his book bag. He liked to draw pictures of war crafts, weapons and buxom female warriors.
"He said when he would draw he felt like he was right there in his pictures," said his stepmom, Beth Osteen.
David had a good year. He made honor roll at school and lost 20 pounds no soda, lots of walks.
The day before Thanksgiving he talked with his stepsister on their porch until 1 a.m.
"He said he was really happy about Rebecca," said Megan Morse, 18.
Osteen said David's tires were new, but she didn't know the brand. The Florida Highway Patrol said the tires had adequate tread but also did not have information about the brand.
Wednesday, the teens' friends and colleagues tried to come to terms with the deaths.
At Land O'Lakes High there was a moment of silence and a ready team of grief counselors.
Sweetbay manager John Alland said many of the store's associates were in shock. He last worked with the teens Monday.
Rebecca had asked him to taste some homemade banana pudding.
"It was good," Alland said.
Before Alland left that day, he asked David to restock the milk and eggs.
Manley also worked at the store with her daughter and David. Sometimes customers confused her with Rebecca.