Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco County students hit while on way to Hudson school bus stop

HUDSON — Sunrise was nearly a half-hour away as the children walked on the road to their bus stop. Utica Drive is narrow and crumbles in chunks on the edges. Dense woods line one side, deep sugar sand on the other. The children are supposed to trudge through the shoe-swallowing sand to stay off the road.

They usually don't.

At 7 a.m., Deanna Leggio, a 21-year-old Hudson woman, drove north on Utica, the same direction as the children were headed. Their bus stop was at the end of the road, on New York Avenue.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Leggio saw the children in her path and swerved to miss them — but hit two teenagers who were also on the road: Walter Edelman, a 15-year-old ninth-grade student at Hudson High School, and William Calder, a 13-year-old who attends Hudson Middle School. One or both of them hit the hood of Leggio's black 2000 Ford Mustang, shattered the windshield and landed on the road.

"It was terrible," said Richie Cox, 34, whose apartment is near the accident site. He watched as paramedics loaded the boys into helicopters and flew them to hospitals. Walter was taken to All Children's Hospital, William to Bayfront Medical Center, said Florida Highway Patrol spokesman Sgt. Larry Kraus. Both boys were in stable condition Tuesday afternoon.

"They have some broken bones," Kraus said. "But, overall, they are doing fairly well."

Mike Goff lives next door to William's family at Ivy Chase Apartments, about three-quarters of a mile from the accident site. Goff, 34, was on Utica in his car driving his children to school when a student flagged him down and told him William and Walter had just been hit. The student continued running to tell the boys' parents.

Goff said he ran to the boys and stayed with them until paramedics arrived. He said Walter sat up and seemed to be okay. William was in bad shape, Goff said. His ankle was clearly broken, his body was battered and cut, blood streaming out of his mouth. He wanted his mom and dad — who arrived on the scene shortly after Goff. As they stayed with William at the hospital, Goff babysat their other younger children. Tuesday afternoon, Goff said he talked with William's mom, who told him her son had no internal bleeding, but doctors were going to keep him overnight.

"That street (Utica) needs sidewalks," Goff said.

"And a big, neon sign that says, 'SLOW DOWN.' "

Goff said he won't let his children walk to the bus stop at New York Avenue. He said the sand is difficult to walk through and your "feet and legs are covered in sand spurs."

Cox said children walk in the middle of the road all the time with cars whizzing past. "People go 60 to 70 miles per hour" down Utica, he said.

"I can't believe there haven't been more incidents like this," said Cox, who also wants sidewalks installed on the road.

Pasco County Schools Transportation Director Gary Sawyer said the New York Avenue bus stop has been there for more than a decade "without incident."

Sawyer said the school system is re-evaluating the stop, as is protocol when things like this happen. "We look for safe walk paths," he said.

Jack Greene, a supervisor of transportation operations for the school district, said the bus is slated to arrive at the stop daily at 7:12 a.m., though sometimes later. He said authorities were already on the scene when the bus arrived Tuesday and picked up about 15 to 20 students who were taken to Hudson middle and high schools. Greene said counselors were available for those students, if they needed to talk about what happened that morning.

Kraus said the accident remains under investigation. As of Tuesday, no charges were filed.

Times researcher Will Gorham and reporter Jeffrey S. Solochek contributed to this story. Erin Sullivan can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 869-6229.

Pasco County students hit while on way to Hudson school bus stop 10/06/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 6, 2009 7:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Officials release names of those aboard plane that landed in St. Pete neighborhood


    ST. PETERSBURG — Officials released the names of the two people aboard the plane that made an emergency landing Wednesday on a neighborhood street in south St. Petersburg.

  2. Spencer: 'A better and more beautiful world if people like me were in power'


    In the a small theater crammed with cameras, Richard Spencer and a small group of his coordinators clashed with reporters as his controversial speech in the Phillips Center drew near Thursday.

    A crowd gathers ahead of Richard Spencer's appearance at the University of Florida on Oct. 19, 2017. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
  3. Analysis: George W. Bush's unmistakable takedown of Trumpism - and Trump


    For the last nine years, George W. Bush has largely stayed out of presidential politics; he declined to criticize his successor, Barack Obama, and he chose not to endorse but largely ignored President Donald Trump. While Mitt Romney and others spoke out publicly against Trump, Bush stayed above the fray.

    That …

    Former President George W. Bush speaks at a forum sponsored by the George W. Bush Institute in New York on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. [Seth Wenig | Associated Press]
  4. Fennelly: Even frustrated Bucs fans hold out hope


    Many fans wrote back when I threw out an all-points the other day, asking if Bucs fans are perpetually in a state of expecting the worst.

    Bucs fans cheer during a preseason game against the Washington Redskins in August at Raymond James Stadium.
  5. 'The Walking Dead' marks 100 episodes with Easter eggs in Season 8 premiere


    The hit zombie series has come a long way since Rick Grimes woke up from a coma and entered a post-apocalyptic world overrun with the undead.

    Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead Season 8.