Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Family grieves death of teen in Ruskin crash

Times Staff Writer

RIVERVIEW — Cars and people collected in the front yard of a Riverview home Monday as family members consoled one another over the loss of a 15-year-old boy they loved.

Nativada Cervantes was riding in the bed of a 2002 Dodge Ram early Saturday when his older brother lost control of the truck and slammed into a light pole.

The vehicle carrying six people spun across U.S. 41 near First Street SW in Ruskin, throwing Nativada and another teen from the truck bed.

Nativada died at the scene. The five others, including driver Cesar Cervantes, 23, were injured.

Florida Highway Patrol investigators are looking into whether alcohol played a role. No one has been charged.

Nativada's aunt, Rosa Rosario, 34, of Holly Springs, N.C., said her nephew and her son, Marco Rosario, 15, who was also in the truck, were closer than siblings.

"This went beyond brothers," she said. "There's no explanation of the bond."

The boys' mothers were pregnant with them at the same time. The result was that the cousins were almost inseparable until part of the family moved from Gibsonton to North Carolina.

Cesar Cervantes lives in Holly Springs as well, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. The family, including Marco, traveled to Florida to spend the Christmas holiday with family.

Nativada loved animals, Rosario said. "He had fish and birds. He wanted to help stray dogs. … He loved all animals. … It was just a passion of his."

Also injured in the crash were Nativada's cousins, Lazaro Espinosa, 17, of Gibsonton and Victor Cervantes, 15, of Riverview, the highway patrol said. Lazaro, who investigators said was also thrown from the truck bed, was in fair condition at Tampa General Hospital on Monday. Victor's injuries were minor.

Cesar Cervantes suffered serious injuries but had been released from TGH by Monday.

Also hurt was a friend of the group, Melane Rodriguez, whose age was unknown. She also was discharged from TGH.

Garriel Cervantes, 18, of Riverview, was the only person to escape unhurt, according to an FHP report.

Patrol Sgt. Larry Kraus said that unless troopers find evidence of negligence, the most likely charge against the driver would be a seat belt violation.

State law does not permit minors to ride unsecured in a truck bed on interstates or turnpikes, but the same rule does not exist for state highways.

Maria Cervantes, Nativada's mother, sounded stunned when asked about her son.

"He was very friendly," she said, before a long pause. "He was having fun like everybody else, like any teenager."

She said she hadn't spoken with son Cesar Cervantes about the crash. "They don't want to talk about it," she said.

Times researcher John Martin and Times staff writer Kim Wilmath contributed to this report.

Family grieves death of teen in Ruskin crash 12/28/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 29, 2009 1:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Cubs down Dodgers 3-2; force NLCS Game 5 Thursday


    CHICAGO — Javier Baez snapped an 0-for-20 skid with two home runs, former Ray Wade Davis hung on for a six-out save and the Cubs avoided a sweep, holding off the Dodgers 3-2 Wednesday night in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series.

  2. One of the best places for investing in a rental house is in Tampa Bay

    Real Estate

    Two Tampa Bay ZIP Codes are drawing national attention.

    . If you're looking to invest in a house to rent out, few places are better than  ZIP Code 34607 in Hernando County's Spring Hill area, according to ATTOM Data Solutions.
 file photo]

  3. Bucs' Vernon Hargreaves: 'I'm not making any plays'


    TAMPA — Eli Manning gathered his receivers together on the sideline during the Giants' Week 4 game against the Bucs and told them he planned to target the weakest link of the secondary all afternoon.

    Patriots receiver Chris Hogan gets position in front of Bucs cornerback Vernon Hargreaves for a 5-yard touchdown pass in New England’s win on Oct. 5.
  4. Suspect in Maryland office park shooting is apprehended


    EDGEWOOD, Md. — A man with a lengthy criminal past who was fired from a job earlier this year for punching a colleague showed up for work at a countertop company on Wednesday and shot five of his co-workers has been arrested, authorities said. Three of them were killed and two critically wounded.

    Harford County, Md., Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler shows a picture of Radee Labeeb Prince, the suspect in the workplace shootings.
  5. Lightning's J.T. Brown to stop anthem protest, focus on community involvement

    Lightning Strikes

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Lightning wing J.T. Brown will no longer raise his first as a protest during the national anthem before games.

    J.T. Brown says he will work more with the Tampa police and groups that serve at-risk young people.