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Friends, family say goodbye to Joey Ruzecki, other teens killed in Seminole crash

Friends embrace after the funeral service for Joseph Scott “Joey” Ruzecki outside of First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks in Largo on Saturday.

MELISSA LYTTLE | Times

Friends embrace after the funeral service for Joseph Scott “Joey” Ruzecki outside of First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks in Largo on Saturday.

LARGO — Somber teens were among the hundreds who said a final goodbye to Joseph Scott "Joey" Ruzecki.

Ruzecki, 16, a junior at Seminole High School, died April 10 when the Lexus he was driving crashed on 86th Avenue N in the unincorporated Seminole area. Three friends also died in the accident.

"Saying goodbye to our friends is probably the hardest thing," said Noel Forsan, one of the teens who attended the Saturday funeral service at First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks in Largo.

School, Forsan said, is "not the same, never will be. … It's hard. It's not getting easier yet."

Nancy Kusnicki, another teen, said the situation was "heart-wrenching" because parents are not supposed to have to bury their children.

Kaitlyn Frehling remembered her friend Joey as a "great kid."

Frehling said she hoped other teens would learn from the tragedy.

"They think it's not going to happen to them," Frehling said.

The service took an hour and a half. It included a reading of the 23rd Psalm and memories by family and friends. The casket was taken from the church to the tune of Don't Stop Believing.

After the casket was loaded into the hearse and driven away, kids hugged each other silently. Not a sound could be heard on the church grounds.

Memorials continued into this week at Seminole High, where students on Tuesday dedicated blood donations in honor of Ruzecki and the others who died, Nate Richardson, Keith MacCollom and LeShawn Smith. Richardson and MacCollom attended Seminole High. Smith was a junior at Largo High.

Donors were to sign dedication cards that would be presented to the families of the four teens.

Anne Lindberg can be reached at (727) 893-8450 or alindberg@sptimes.com.

Friends, family say goodbye to Joey Ruzecki, other teens killed in Seminole crash 04/21/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 21, 2009 8:01pm]
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