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    One twin dies after car-scooter accident

    The other 12-year-old, in good condition after Friday's crash, was able to visit his brother before life support was removed.

    By JENNIFER FARRELL

    © St. Petersburg Times, published January 21, 2001


    As the helicopter lifted off for the hospital Friday night, 12-year-old Anthony Abramowicz cried out again and again for his twin brother.

    Over and over, after a car hit the boys as they rode scooters through their Spring Hill neighborhood, he asked rescue workers, "Where's my brother?"

    On Saturday afternoon, Anthony, who was listed in good condition, left his room at Bayfront Medical Center for a trip next door to All Children's Hospital. There, his identical twin, Stewart, lay unconscious and on life support.

    At 4:58 p.m., Stewart was pronounced dead.

    Ann Miller, a hospital spokeswoman, declined to discuss Stewart's injuries, citing his family's wishes. The boys' mother and stepfather, Amber and John Costa, declined media requests for interviews.

    But neighbors and friends said Saturday that the family was distraught, having decided to remove Stewart from life support after doctors said he would not regain consciousness.

    The twins were struck by a car heading north on Pinehurst Drive near dusk on Friday. The driver, Geraldine Berotti, said she didn't see the boys coming toward her until it was too late.

    Rescue workers said Stewart, who was apparently riding in front of Anthony, struck the windshield first and suffered more serious injuries.

    By Saturday afternoon, the boys' mangled scooters were gone from the accident scene, but neighbors remained shaken.

    "I've seen every kid in the neighborhood with those scooters, and not one with a helmet," said Maureen Sardo, 36. "It's just a real shame. It could've been my son . . . God forbid. It could have been."

    Sardo's husband, Frank, 37, said he was standing near the corner of Pinehurst Drive and Ryan Street when Berotti, 74, crested the hill in her 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier.

    "She hit the first kid and then she went another 10 feet and then she hit the second kid," he said. "She didn't even hit her brakes."

    Sardo said he was outside his home, about 25 feet away from the boys, when he saw the crash and went running.

    "Those kids were single file, one ahead of the other at the edge of the road," he said. "It's not like they were swerving in front of traffic.

    "It had nothing to do with the way the kids were riding," he said.

    But others complained that the hill on Pinehurst creates a blind spot for drivers. That, coupled with kids who ride in the road, is a dangerous mix, they said.

    "Those scooters are treacherous," said Joyce Cambruzzi, 46.

    Berotti said Friday night that she was headed home on Pinehurst after visiting a friend when the boys drifted in front of her. She could not be reached for comment Saturday.

    A Florida Highway Patrol investigation is pending.

    Sharon Bray, assistant principal at Fox Chapel Middle School, said news of the accident had jarred the school, where Stewart and Anthony attended seventh grade. A steady stream of students showed up there Saturday afternoon, she said, adding that counseling will be available when classes resume Monday.

    On Saturday, a small group of boys gathered on the street near the twins' home on Kelvin Court, taking turns with a scooter and skateboard.

    Nathan Fuller, 13, said he couldn't believe what had happened to his friends. He said the accident frightened his mother and would likely spell the end of his scooter.

    "She doesn't want me to ride it anymore," he said. "She's probably going to take mine. I know she is."

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