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13-year-old girl dies after Riverview crash

RIVERVIEW — Andrea Bower had perfect attendance, but on Friday she missed the bus.

Andrea, 13 years old and an eighth-grader at Giunta Middle School, usually catches school bus No. 4074 in the morning on the south side of Bloomingdale Avenue at Buckhorn Springs Road.

Knowing that the bus would soon swing around to the north side of Bloomingdale to pick up students directly across the street, Andrea darted across the road about 8:30 a.m.

A Ford sport utility vehicle hit her, deputies say.

The driver, Stephanie Lynn Akins, had two small children in SUV, but neither she nor the children were injured.

Andrea was rushed to Tampa General Hospital, where she died Friday afternoon.

Authorities believe the girl's actions were spurred by her desire to have perfect attendance all year.

Akins allowed Hillsborough County sheriff's deputies to draw and test her blood. Deputies said speed did not appear to be a factor in the crash.

Traffic homicide investigators worked at the scene for several hours, and school officials responded to talk to students who were waiting for the bus and saw the collision.

Crisis counselors went to the school. Principal Arlene Castelli joined Andrea's parents at the hospital. And school officials sent a pre-recorded message to Giunta parents:

"Some of you may have heard that eighth-grader Andrea Bower was hit by a car this morning on Bloomingdale Avenue.

Students on bus 4074 witnessed the accident, so they have been meeting with crisis team members and school counselors. ... We will have the crisis team here all day to meet with students and teachers who are upset about this news. Please keep Andrea and her family in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you."

Marissa Lang can be reached at mlang@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3386 or on Twitter @Marissa_Jae.

13-year-old girl dies after Riverview crash 11/16/12 [Last modified: Friday, November 16, 2012 11:46pm]
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