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Dozens of crashes reported at intersection where boy was fatally struck by semi

Parents share safety concerns

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – A latest report from the Florida Highway Patrol shows there have been 24 crashes since 2017 at the intersection where a 10-year-old boy was fatally struck by a semitruck Wednesday afternoon.

Kevin Pope, 10, killed as a result of the crash on Landstar Boulevard and Wetherbee Road.

"This is all the time, trucks, bikes and kids," said Marz Aponte, pointing at an 18-wheeler driving down the road next to the subdivsion. "It's very dangerous."

Aponte is hoping to get parents together to share their concerns about traffic safety in the area.

The location of the crash is about a half mile from Wetherbee Elementary School. Aponte said her son and Pope rode their bikes to school together up until just last month when Aponte and her family moved. 

"It's just tough when you have to explain to a 10-year-old that you have a young child he used to ride the bike with is no longer here," Aponte said, crying. "It's tragic."

She feels like it was only a matter of time.

At the beginning of the school year, she reached out to school officials and the county about getting more crossing guards, not just at the intersection where school lets out, but intersections along Wetherbee Road where neighborhoods are. 

The Orange County Sheriff's Office said Thursday that there are already three crossing guards in the area, but will examine whether it's necessary to add more.

"Two are stationed directly across the street from the school on Club Woods Drive and Wetherbee Road. The other crosses children across Landstar Boulevard at Wetherbee Road on the opposite side from where the child was hit on Wetherbee Road," a spokesperson said. "We have asked Orange County Traffic Engineering to reassess the intersection to determine if additional crossing guards are needed." 

Orange County will also be sending out traffic engineers to look at the area. Currently, the county has a list of schools to be evaluated for pedestrian safety.

Wetherbee Elementery was not included but now it will be. 

District 4 County Commissioner Maribel Gomez Cordero in a statement said she will personally look into this as well. 

"We are truly saddened by the loss of one of our children. Our hearts, thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and all affected by this tragic loss of young life. I am committed to reviewing the facts once presented, as well as ensuring that pedestrian safety remains a priority for all," Gomez Cordero said.

A GoFundMe has been established to help support Kevin's family.


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