No charges pending in traffic death of toddler out trick-or-treating

Published Nov. 1, 2014

LAKE WALES — The driver who struck and killed a 2-year-old boy trick-or-treating Friday night was not speeding and could not have seen the child, the Polk County Sheriff's Office said.

No charges are pending against the driver of a grove bus that struck 2-year-old Dohntae Vasquez on U.S. 27 near Crooked Lake, officials said.

David Heidler, 29, and his two children, and Angela Hoerl, 45, and her 2-year-old grandson, Dohntae, were trick-or-treating in the neighborhoods near where they live. About 7:25 p.m., Heidler crossed the northbound lanes of U.S. 27 from east to west at the intersection of 1st Avenue North, pushing a stroller with the three kids inside.

Upon reaching the grass median, Heidler realized he had dropped his cell phone. He stopped the stroller in the median, told the children to stay in it, and went back into the roadway to retrieve his phone. Dohntae got out of the stroller to run back to the east shoulder where his grandmother and Heidler were.

The child was struck by a bus driven by 33-year-old Albertina Ramirez of Lake Wales. The bus is owned by W.G. Roe and Sons Citrus Harvesting and was taking a work crew home after a day of work. Ramirez immediately pulled over and the adults tried to help the boy while also calling 911. He was declared dead on the scene.