Wednesday, Sep 03, 2014
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Land O’ Lakes boy, 9, fatally struck while walking dog


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A 9-year-old boy was killed, and his mother and brother were seriously injured Wednesday morning, when they were struck by a van while walking their dog in Land O’ Lakes, officials said.

Jorge Cruz, of Land O’ Lakes, died from his injuries after being transported to Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point in Hudson, officials said.

His 7-year-old brother, David, was airlifted to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa, and their mother, 33-year-old Anita Pallares, was taken to Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point. They were in stable condition Wednesday afternoon.

The driver, 21-year-old John Ryals, of Land O’ Lakes, was ticketed for careless driving, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

According to the highway patrol, Ryals failed to observe the pedestrians when his westbound 2014 Chevrolet Express van hit all three on Bahia Loop, near Turf Drive, east of U.S. 41, at 7:45 a.m.

The family was walking east, on the correct side of the roadway, facing the oncoming traffic, troopers said.

The dog also died at the scene, the highway patrol said.

Ryals was not injured, the highway patrol said.

Investigators said alcohol was not a factor in the collision.

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