Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Classes resume at Steinbrenner High as students grieve loss of beloved senior

LUTZ — Students snapped images of a rainbow early Monday over Steinbrenner High School as classes resumed in the wake of the weekend death of a beloved classmate.

Many tweeted their pics with the hashtag #RIPFrank after a prayer outside the school. Some said the rainbow was a sign from the heavens, a gift from their departed friend.

"Even if you don't know them, offer a shoulder to cry on or a person to talk to," student Bradley Walters tweeted Monday morning. "It's time we come together as a family."

Frank Vasquez, 17, died Sunday after a driver slammed into and flipped his parked SUV early Saturday, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. His girlfriend and passenger, Kaylee E. Baer, 16, of Lutz, remained in intensive care Monday morning at St. Joseph's Hospital, officials said.

The driver who hit them, Matthew J. West, 23, whom authorities say initially fled the scene, turned himself in at a Pasco County jail Saturday. The case is under investigation and no charges have been filed, troopers said.

Vasquez, of Lutz, and Baer had returned from a Keith Urban concert at the Florida State Fairgrounds when West hit Vasquez's parked SUV at a dead end on Sunlake Drive, north of County Line Road, about 12:30 a.m. Saturday, crash investigators said.

Friends and teachers held a vigil at Steinbrenner High School's stadium Sunday night. Many continued their tributes and aired their grief on social media.

"We have our crisis team and grief counselors available for anybody who needs them," said Jill Schroeder, an assistant to principal Kelly King. "It hits very close to home. Obviously, they're very upset, but I think they're dealing with it as best as they can."

Classes resume at Steinbrenner High as students grieve loss of beloved senior 10/07/13 [Last modified: Monday, October 7, 2013 10:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. UPS relocates express operations from St. Pete-Clearwater to TIA


    TAMPA — United Parcel Service Inc. is switching airports for its express air operations. Beginning in October, UPS will relocate from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to Tampa International Airport.

    Beginning in October, UPS will move from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to Tampa International Airport. [Associated Press file photo]

  2. St. Petersburg man shot in arm during home invasion robbery


    ST. PETERSBURG — One man was arrested on charges he shot another man in the arm while attempting to rob a home in what St. Petersburg police are calling a drug-related incident.

    John Alam, 25, faces charges of home invasion robbery, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and possession of a firearm by a felon after deputies said he tried to rob a home Wednesday morning and ended up shooting someone. [Courtesy of Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  3. Bob Buckhorn, a mayor who knows what he wants, surveys constituents on what they want


    TAMPA — Focus has not been a problem — or really, even a question — during the six-plus years that Mayor Bob Buckhorn has been in office.

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn keeps a digital countdown clock in his office showing the days, hours. minutes and seconds until he is term-limited out of office on April 1, 2019. As of Wednesday, he had 584 days to go. [City of Tampa]
  4. WATCH: Heroic Hooters manager helps two sheriff's deputies subdue unruly customer


    BRANDON — The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office praised a heroic Hooters Restaurant manager Wednesday for coming to the aid of two deputies struggling to subdue an unruly customer.

    It took two deputies and a Hooter's manager to get control of Ashton B. Toney after he threatened to kill an employee who refused to serve him alcohol at a Hooter's in Brandon, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office reported.
[Booking photo from the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]