Pickup Swerving To Avoid Traffic Runs Over Kids

Tuesday, March 20th 2007, 9:40 am
By: News On 6

SUN CITY CENTER, Fla. (AP) _ A pickup truck driver who swerved to avoid another vehicle ran over three children near a disabled car along Interstate 75, killing two of them, authorities said.

The children were traveling with a group of friends and relatives when car trouble forced them to the side of the highway, slowing traffic Sunday evening, said Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Larry Coggins.

The truck driver couldn't slow fast enough for the traffic ahead of him, went off the road and hit the disabled car, then ran over the three children, Coggins said.

Leona Paul, 14, of Lakeland, and Austin Cox, 10, of Auburndale, were both killed. Skylar Richardson, 14, of Ruskin, was in critical condition at Tampa General Hospital, a nursing supervisor said. No one else was hurt.

The highway patrol was investigating, but Coggins said no alcohol or drugs were involved.

``It was just a terrible set of circumstances that led to a horrible crash,'' he said.

Sun City Center is about 25 miles south of Tampa.