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Child seriously injured after being struck by car in Pinellas Park

Published Jan. 23, 2016

PINELLAS PARK — An 11-year-old boy was seriously injured Friday evening when he was struck by a vehicle while crossing a busy road.

Police said the Laq Swanigan, a Pinellas Park Middle School student, ran in front of a minivan in the middle of the 7400 block of 66th Street N just before 5:30 p.m.

He was transported to All Children's Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine with life-threatening injuries, though a police spokesman said late Friday that he is expected to survive.

Pinellas Park Police Department spokesman Sgt. Michael Lynch said the boy and his friend, who was not struck, were running from the Walmart Neighborhood Market plaza adjacent to the roadway.

He said it is possible the pair were coming from the store as there were Skittles candies spilled at the scene of the accident.

Lynch said the boys ran across three lanes of stopped southbound traffic before stepping into the eastbound turn lane, where Laq was struck.

He said Patricia S. Lind, the driver of the minivan traveling in the turn lane, was not going very fast, but the boy was thrown off the right side of her vehicle's windshield before hitting a stopped car in the next lane.

"The driver of the minivan said she saw the friend's red shirt flash by, but by the time she tried to stop it was too late," Lynch said.

Lynch said situations like this are reminders of why crosswalks are so important.

"This is something we always stress safety-wise, to always use the crosswalks, because unfortunately this is what can happen," he said. "They were within a couple hundred yards of (a crosswalk) actually, and that would have been a much better option unfortunately."

Contact Megan Reeves at mreeves@tampabay.com.