1. Archive

"It looked like no one could survive'

Passing the crumpled remains of a brutal highway wreck Friday afternoon, Glenn Bailey had a fleeting reaction: "I hope to God it wasn't one of our kids."

Bailey, assistant principal of Boca Ciega High School, was heading for Tallahassee, where the school's boys basketball team would play for the state championship that night.

He knew other Bogie faithfuls were in a string of cars along Interstate 10, heading west.

As it turned out, Bailey's fear was justified. Four teenagers from the Gulfport school were injured in the accident _ two seriously.

The 1987 GMC driven by senior Christopher Trivigno plowed into the back of a semitrailer truck that was parked on the right shoulder of the road near Live Oak about 2:30 p.m., the Florida Highway Patrol said.

"The car was unbelievable," Bailey said Saturday. The car's front end was caved into the front passenger seat, and half of the car was partly underneath the back of the truck. "It looked like no one could survive," he said.

Skid marks from the GMC began in the right-hand lane, about 50 yards back from the truck, Bailey said, giving the appearance that Trivigno may have swerved to avoid something in the road.

Trivigno, 17, of 8125 37th Ave. N, suffered serious head injuries and was still unconscious Saturday at Shands Hospital in Gainesville. "He seems a tiny bit better . . . but is still very critical," said his aunt, Barbara Trivigno.

She and other family members and friends streamed to Gainesville Friday and Saturday when word of the accident spread. "There've been so many people all day, and they are still arriving," she said.

Trivigno is a soccer player and had just made the school baseball team, his aunt said. "He is just a fun-loving kid who is very much loved."

Sophomore Nick Muto, 16, of 6680 12th Ave. N, was listed in serious condition in intensive care. He was flown to Shands bleeding from the liver and spleen, but the bleeding had stopped by Saturday, his brother, Brian Muto, said.

Senior Germaine Small and junior Leighton Langston, 17, were flown to University Medical Center in Jacksonville with lesser injuries and were discharged Saturday. The Highway Patrol did not release their addresses.

Between 100 and 150 Boca Ciega students traveled to Tallahassee, Bailey estimated. About 45 went in a chartered bus.

Rumor of the accident began to spread during the basketball game, which Bogie won by one point. An announcer at the Leon County Civic Center called the four students' names and asked them to come forward if they were in the arena.

"After they didn't respond, everybody got a little more concerned," Bailey said. "I found out as we were walking out. We were coming back through Gainesville and had to stop. They are my kids."

He talked briefly to Muto.

"I said, "Nick, how are you feeling?' and he said, "Okay. I think you need to help me with my attendance appeal.' "

School policy calls for automatic failure when a student misses 10 days, Bailey explained. But a committee of teachers can waive the rule if the student has a good excuse.

"He's laying there on his back with tubes running out of him, and all he's worried about is attendance," Bailey said. "I said, "Forget it buddy. You just get well.' "