Saturday, June 23, 2018
News Roundup

Tampa teen remembered after fatal crash

TAMPA — Tutoring wasn't part of her job, but Amanda Pierce did it anyway. Monday through Friday afternoons, the Plant High senior worked at an after-school program at St. John's Episcopal Parish Day School.

Officials there said she listened to the fifth- through eighth-graders, counseling them and making them feel loved.

"She was genuinely interested in their well-being, more than I've seen of someone that age," said Daniel Farley, who is in charge of the program.

Amanda's death this past weekend after a car crash has devastated those students, along with her Plant High classmates and adults who knew her. They are grieving the loss of an 18-year-old with much promise.

In addition to working at St. John's, Amanda spent time with Best Buddies, a nonprofit that pairs students with special-needs children to form friendships.

Caroline Medina, the group's adviser at Plant and a special-needs teacher, said Amanda volunteered with the group for three years and went beyond expectations. The group meets twice a month on weekends for activities such as bowling, but Amanda also spent time on her own with her buddies.

This year, she took her partner, Kaitlyn, shopping, and Kaitlyn spent the night at Amanda's house.

"You do find those few people who really have it in their heart," Medina said. "She definitely was."

She said Kaitlyn is distraught over the loss. When school begins on Monday after this week's spring break, grief counselors will be on hand for the students.

"Some of the kids don't understand death," Medina said. "They don't understand that they're not going to see them again."

Amanda died Saturday from injuries she suffered in a car accident Friday night in Jefferson County. She and fellow Plant High senior Taylor Lazzara, 18, were headed to Tallahassee to see Amanda's sister, Jessica, who is a 19-year-old student at Florida State University.

Just before 10 p.m., Amanda came upon a scene where traffic was stopped on Interstate 10 because of two prior car crashes. To avoid the stopped cars, Amanda swerved her 2001 Acura to the right, traveled onto the shoulder and hit a tree, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Both girls were wearing seat belts. Taylor was injured but released from the hospital. Amanda suffered a traumatic head injury and died the next day, her stepmother, Tamra Pierce, said.

Amanda had planned to visit with her sister during spring break and look at housing options for next fall, when she would become a student at Tallahassee Community College. She hoped to later enroll at FSU and planned to become a special education teacher.

"She had such a beautiful heart," Pierce said.

Friends gathered for an impromptu memorial service on Davis Islands on Saturday night. The teenagers grieved together and released balloons. Katelin Collier, a 17-year-old Plant senior, said Amanda was a role model.

"She taught us a lesson to care for everyone around us and to make every day special," she said.

Farley, the St. John's program coordinator, said Amanda's personality shone.

"She made everyone feel important, that they were wanted," he said.

Times researcher Carolyn Edds and Times staff writer Meredith Rutland contributed to this report. Erin Sullivan can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 869-6229.

 
Comments
First step for Hillsborough schools facing biggest challenges: Hire more teachers

First step for Hillsborough schools facing biggest challenges: Hire more teachers

TAMPA — As chief of diversity for the Hillsborough County School District, Minerva Spanner-Morrow tries to keep her expectations realistic."We want the best of the best and I know that’s very difficult," she told principals last week as they prepared...
Published: 06/23/18
Rodney Page’s takeaways from Rays-Yankees

Rodney Page’s takeaways from Rays-Yankees

1. SS Willy Adames had a nice night, and there appear to be many more in his future. He had two hits, an RBI and an inning-ending leaping catch on a line drive by Didi Gregorius in the fifth.2. DH C.J. Cron needs to shake things up. Take a different ...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Marc Anthony pays a visit to the Trop

Marc Anthony pays a visit to the Trop

By Allana BarefieldTimes Staff WriterST. PETERSBURG — Latin pop star Marc Anthony visited Tropicana Field on Friday to see his beloved Yankees play the Rays.Anthony spent nearly an hour on the field before the game as fans and players surrounde...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Rays journal: Daniel Robertson’s return crowds up infield

Rays journal: Daniel Robertson’s return crowds up infield

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays reinstated INF Daniel Robertson from the 10-day disabled list (left hamstring strain). To make room, RHP Austin Pruitt was sent to Triple-A Durham."It's out of my mind. I don't think about (the hamstring) when I'm bend...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Brady Singer, Gators eliminated by Arkansas at CWS

Brady Singer, Gators eliminated by Arkansas at CWS

Times wiresOMAHA, Neb.  —Defending champion Florida failed to win a third straight elimination game, losing to Arkansas 5-2 Friday night and departing the College World Series.The Gators (49-21) had to win to force a rematch. The Razorback...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Rays hang on for a 2-1 win over Yankees

Rays hang on for a 2-1 win over Yankees

ST. PETERSBURG – Many times this season the Rays' strategy of opening the game with a short reliever and using the bullpen to finish hasn't had much success.Friday wasn't one of those nights.A total of six pitchers held the Yankees and their va...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Rowdies fall to Penn FC

Rowdies fall to Penn FC

By Darek SharpTimes CorrespondentST. PETERSBURG — For the second time this season, Penn FC got two goals from a former Rowdie that led the way to a win over Tampa Bay.Lucky Mkosana doubled his season total Friday in a comeback 2-1 win before an...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Ronald Darby’s friend: Jameis Winston got into second Uber ride alone

Ronald Darby’s friend: Jameis Winston got into second Uber ride alone

New details emerged Friday night about the Uber ride in Arizona in March 2016 that led to Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston's three-game suspension to start the upcoming season, including the fact that Winston was in a car that night with a former Vand...
Published: 06/22/18
Tampa boy, 14, shot on bike, police asking for help

Tampa boy, 14, shot on bike, police asking for help

TAMPA — Police want to know who shot 14-year-old De’Nico Thomas after a night of playing video games.Thomas was at a friend’s home Wednesday night and walking home when Tampa police said he was shot, resulting in life-threatening injuries.As he faces...
Published: 06/22/18
Carlton: That snake-like thing living under your refrigerator? It’s a skink. Welcome to Florida

Carlton: That snake-like thing living under your refrigerator? It’s a skink. Welcome to Florida

At first I thought it was a snake.Because wouldn’t it be typically Florida to come home and find a snake poking its nose out from under your stove? Which wouldn’t be a problem or anything. I would just have to move out is all.But no, the creature tha...
Published: 06/22/18