1. Archive

Mom plans funeral, keeps vigil at hospital

Eleven-year-old Angela Burnett was enjoying her summer vacation. She had just joined the YMCA and spent July 4 with cousins at her uncle's house in Carrollwood.

Monday night, Burnett died when the Honda she was riding in flipped over on Interstate 275 around 8 p.m.

She was on her way to her uncle's house, said her mother, Angie Saffold. And the Honda was packed with family members.

Angela's cousin, LaBrawn Rashad Saffold, 16, was driving.

Angela's two older brothers were passengers: Dontez Saffold, 15, and Cortez Curtis, 13.

The 1990 Honda was going north on I-275. The driver tried to pass a Pontiac near Sligh Avenue, but instead went sailing over the guardrail and down the embankment, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. The Honda landed on the exit ramp to Sligh Avenue, facing the wrong direction.

Dontez, who was in the front passenger seat, climbed out of the shattered car and tried to help his injured brother, sister and cousin.

But he couldn't find Angela, said Saffold.

Then, a motorist _ the family doesn't know who _ lifted the Honda. Underneath lay Angela's body, which had been ejected from the car.

The Florida Highway Patrol said she was not wearing a seat belt.

At first, troopers thought Angela was grown woman. She was tall, more than 5 feet, and almost 160 pounds, said her mother.

But "she was just 11 years old," said Saffold, a 31-year-old single mom who lives on Columbus Drive.

Her daughter loved to dance and play with her brothers and cousins.

"She loved attention," said Saffold, on the verge of tears.

Angela was going into the fourth grade and was in the process of changing schools. Monday afternoon, before the accident, she went shopping and bought pink and white Converse sneakers.

"She was a sweet, sweet little girl," said her mother.

The accident is still under investigation. Trooper William Gonzalez said it appears the Honda made "an improper lane change."

The Pontiac flipped and landed on an outside lane. The driver, Stephanie Cabrero, 20, and passenger Clay Gondeck, 26, both of Tampa, suffered minor injuries, officials said.

Saffold, 31, spent Tuesday making funeral arrangements for her daughter and running back and forth to Tampa General Hospital.

LaBrawn, the driver and her nephew, has injuries to his spine, she said. And Cortez, her son, is in ICU. He is responding by squeezing his fingers, she said.