Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Move bus stops off busy Pinellas roads, protesters demand

PINELLAS PARK — Horns blared Sunday afternoon as drivers passed teens waving signs that said "Honk for Change" and "RIP We (heart) U Nora."

About 35 of Nora Hernandez-Huapilla's classmates gathered at the spot where she was killed Friday while running to catch her school bus.

Several said they hope the tragedy will persuade the Pinellas County School District to do away with bus stops on busy streets.

"We've done our share of crying," said Noora Kahill, 16. "We've got to make some awareness and make some changes. No one needs to be walking out in six lanes of traffic at 6 a.m."

Nora Hernandez-Huapilla, a 17-year-old Pinellas Park High junior, was struck by a car at 6:25 a.m. Friday after darting into traffic on 66th Street at 70th Avenue N.

Her bus was waiting at the Cash America Pawn shop.

About two months ago, Nora's family complained to the school district about the bus driver, saying she had left kids behind and wouldn't wait for them to cross the street.

Sunday, Nora's 16-year-old brother, Juan Hernandez-Huapilla, said his sister worried that someday someone would get hurt there, he said.

He said he wants stops to be "like they used to be, closer to someone's home."

Another schoolmate, Danielle Kenneally, 16, who organized the protest, said she plans to initiate a petition to get rid of bus stops on major thoroughfares.

After reverting to neighborhood schools, the school district allowed high school students to remain in their schools if they found their own transportation or used stops like this one on major roads.

Nora's friend Heather Dillman, who rode the same bus, said visibility was bad at this stop.

"Nobody barely could see us because it was always dark in the morning," said Heather, 17. She said she didn't have to cross the street herself because her dad dropped her off and waited with her until her friends showed up.

Nora's classmates gathered along 66th Street about 1 p.m. Sunday. Many stayed three or four hours. Several adults came out, too.

About 3 p.m., Trista Torres arrived. She hugged Juan and his siblings and told them, "I'm sorry."

"I feel so bad because I have a kid, too," said Torres, 41, of St. Petersburg, who has a daughter in high school.

Juan said he was "happy that so many people care about (Nora)."

The family has not provided details about funeral or service arrangements. Her classmates started a memorial page for her on Facebook, which mentions a get-together Tuesday at the family home. Early Sunday evening, Nora's memorial page had more than 170 fans.

Move bus stops off busy Pinellas roads, protesters demand 12/20/09 [Last modified: Sunday, December 20, 2009 11:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Spain planning to strip Catalonia of its autonomy


    BARCELONA, Spain — The escalating confrontation over Catalonia's independence drive took its most serious turn Saturday as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain announced he would remove the leadership of the restive region and initiate a process of direct rule by the central government in Madrid.

    Demonstrators in Barcelona protest the decision to take control of Catalonia to derail the independence movement.
  2. Funeral held for U.S. soldier at center of Trump fight


    COOPER CITY — Mourners remembered not only a U.S. soldier whose combat death in Africa led to a political fight between President Donald Trump and a Florida congresswoman but his three comrades who died with him.

    The casket of Sgt. La David T. Johnson of Miami Gardens, who was killed in an ambush in Niger. is wheeled out after a viewing at the Christ The Rock Church, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017  in Cooper City, Fla. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP) FLMIH102
  3. Chemical industry insider now shapes EPA policy


    WASHINGTON — For years, the Environmental Protection Agency has struggled to prevent an ingredient once used in stain-resistant carpets and nonstick pans from contaminating drinking water.

    This is the Dow chemical plant near Freeport, Texas. Before the 2016 election, Dow had been in talks with the EPA to phase out the pesticide chlorpyrifos, which is blamed for disabilities in children. Dow is no longer willing to compromise.
  4. Unforgiving wildfires affect vineyard workers and owners


    SONOMA, Calif. — When the wildfires ignited, vineyard workers stopped picking grapes and fled for their lives. Some vineyard owners decided to stay and fight back, spending days digging firebreaks and sleeping among their vines.

    Wilma Illanes and daughter Gabriela Cervantes, 8, found their home intact, but had lost a week’s wages and sought aid.
  5. O'Reilly got new contract after big settlement


    Last January, six months after Fox News ousted its chairman amid a sexual harassment scandal, the network's top-rated host at the time, Bill O'Reilly, struck a $32 million agreement with a longtime network analyst to settle new sexual harassment allegations, two people briefed on the matter told the New York …

    Bill O’Reilly was fired by Fox News after multiple allegations.