By ROBERT FARLEY
© St. Petersburg Times, published September 15, 2001
EAST LAKE -- Scott Raymond Schwirian was on his way home from a friend's house Thursday afternoon when a driver on East Lake Road ran a red light and hit his motorized scooter, killing the 13-year-old East Lake boy, according to the Florida Highway Patrol and the boy's family.
"He was just such a loving, well-behaved child," said Scott's grandfather, Ray Lee of East Lake. "He is terribly missed."
Scott was an eighth-grader at St. Cecelia Interparochial School in Clearwater and was the only child of Scott and Deborah Schwirian.
Lee, speaking on behalf of the grieving family, said Friday that his grandson was an excellent student who liked skateboarding, inline skating and racing remote-controlled cars.
Scott was born in Clearwater but had lived in East Lake for the past three years. He survived two open-heart surgeries at All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg -- once as an infant, followed by heart valve replacement six years ago, Lee said.
"He struggled unbelievably to come back each time," Lee said.
The parents plan to establish a scholarship fund in their son's name at St. Cecelia.
Troopers said the accident occurred about 3:50 p.m. Thursday as Scott was crossing East Lake Road on his motorized scooter. He was in the crosswalk at the intersection at Village Center Drive/Ridgemoor Boulevard when he was struck by a red 1992 Mitsubishi heading south in the outside lane of East Lake Road.
The driver, Eric James Pateidl, 18, of 4711 Ilex Court, East Lake, disobeyed a red traffic signal at the intersection and struck the boy, the FHP report said. A highway patrol official said the investigation was temporarily put on hold Friday as troopers dealt with Tropical Storm Gabrielle. The report said charges are pending.
A viewing will be Sunday from 6 to 10 p.m. at Sylvan Abbey Memorial Park, 2853 Sunset Point Road, Clearwater. Funeral services will be Monday, beginning with a Mass at 1 p.m. at St. Cecelia Catholic Church, 820 Jasmine Way, Clearwater.
- Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report.