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St. Petersburg police: Young child struck by truck south of downtown

Da’shia Austin, 9, was walking home from school at the time.
Da’shia Austin, 9, was walking home from school at the time.
Published Dec. 17, 2016

ST. PETERSBURG — A 9-year-old boy was in critical condition Friday after he was struck by a truck while trying to cross a busy road south of downtown St. Petersburg.

Police said the boy tried to cross Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street S near 13th Avenue in front of the Sun City Pure gas station shortly after 4 p.m. when he was hit by a Ford F-150. He was not in a designated crosswalk, police said.

The boy was transported to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg with serious injuries.

Sgt. Gabiel Lopez said the driver, Theodore Demps, 67, who stayed at the scene, isn't expected to be charged. Lopez said he didn't appear to be impaired, and given the height difference between the hood of the truck and the boy, the crash likely was an accident.

"I don't think (the driver) ever saw him," Lopez said.

Demps declined to comment, and police did not identify him Friday evening.

Cassandra Johnson, the boy's grandmother, said she rushed to the scene with his mother after they were called about the news. She said her grandson, whom she identified as Da'shia Austin, was walking home from Campbell Park Elementary School.

"It just frightens me," Johnson said about the crash. "My grandson getting hit. I've never had this done before, and I don't wish it on no one."

Contact Times staff writer LaVendrick Smith at lsmith@tampabay.com. Follow @LaVendrickS.


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