Changes made after boy was hit, killed leaving Wetherbee Elementary School

Orange County officials add new signs, second crossing guard at intersection

By Nadeen Yanes - Reporter

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - After conducting a study and hearing a call from concerned parents, Orange County officials along with Orange County Public Schools have added new signs and a second crossing guard at the intersection where Kevin Pope,10, was hit and killed while riding his bike on his way home in April. 

"OCPS and OCSO were notified and we have confirmation from OCSO that a second school crossing guard will indeed be present on the first day of school in this position," said  Christine Lofye, who is a manager with the Orange County Public Works Department, Traffic Engineering Division. 

The changes were made after Orange County conducted a study at the intersection of Landstar Boulevard and Wetherbee Road, which is about a block away from Wetherbee Elementary School. 

Staff have also installed school crossing signs at the north and west leg of the intersection as well as a "Turning Vehicles Yield to Ped" sign on the east leg of the intersection for the new school crossing. 

Staff have also modified pavement markings on Landstar Boulevard that will provide more room for semitrailers to make a right turn on Landstar Boulevard without tracking over the curb ramps and sidewalk. 

It's a move that Marz Aponte called for the day after the crash. Her kids also attend Wetherbee Elementary and her son was friends with Kevin Pope. 

"It's a step in the right direction," Aponte said. "The second crossing guard is going to be good. I pray students will be safe tomorrow and I know they will."

There will be a second crossing guard at the intersection for the first day of school Monday morning.

As far as the driver who hit and killed Pope, officials are still looking. Anyone with information about the driver is asked to call Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS or the Florida Highway Patrol.

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