The 14-year-old Riverview boy killed while trying to cross Interstate 4 Friday night had been kicked out of the Florida State Fair a couple of hours before he died, authorities confirmed.
Andrew Joseph III was one of 99 people ejected that day, which is not uncommon on the first Friday of the fair, said Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Debbie Carter.
"There are usually a lot of young high school kids that start fights with each other and cause problems," said Carter, whose department handled security at the event.
While Carter was not aware of the particulars, she said Joseph was kicked out around 8 p.m. Afterward, he would have ridden in a van to Gate 4 near Orient Road, Carter said.
The fair closed early that day, at 10:30 p.m., due to "inclement weather and in the interest of the safety of fairgoers," the Florida State Fair Authority said in a statement. A spokeswoman otherwise referred questions to the Sheriff's Office.
But little is known about the time between when Joseph left the fair and when he was struck by a SUV at 10:45 p.m. And his family is left questioning why he tried to cross the busy interstate.
Joseph and his family moved from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina forced them to evacuate and, as a child, he took to sports at his new home. An eighth-grader at St. Stephen Catholic School, Joseph was a running back for the Brandon Ravens youth football league. He also ran track and played basketball.
Carter said the Sheriff's Office does not call the parents of youth who are ejected from the fair, "and if they not under arrest we have no reason to hold them or detain them."
Joseph's parents, Deanna and Andrew Joseph Jr., were not available for comment.
Weston Phippen can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893 8321