Search continues for driver after child was fatally struck by semi-truck

Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) is still looking for the driver of a semi truck after they say it hit and killed a little boy riding his bike home from school Wednesday afternoon.

The boy has been identified as Kevin Pope. 

FHP says Pope appeared to have the right of way when it happened.




Parents are now wondering how they’re going to talk to their children about what happened.

“Just to see a little boy lifeless still on the ground, I was like …when I look at him, it’s like I’m looking at my son you know. The little boy is laying there lifeless and they’re trying to pump life back into him.

Cornelius Smith and his seven-year-old son happened to be driving by Wetherbee Road and Landstar Boulevard Thursday afternoon when the crash happened.

“He was like ‘Daddy, that truck just ran over that little boy. He hit that little boy,’” said Smith.

A 10-year-old boy was riding his bike across this intersection when troopers say a semi truck turned there, hitting the boy and then running him over. The boy was taken to the hospital, where he later died.

“It's very traumatic for this family. This family is just traumatized at the hospital,” said FHP Lt. Kim Montes.




Investigators believe the boy had the right of way. “Witnesses did say that the white walk signal was activated,” said Lt. Montes.

After the crash, troopers say the semi kept going. They’re now looking for the truck and investigating whether the driver knew what happened.

FHP is not calling it a “hit and run” because that implies the driver knowingly hit someone and kept going. In this case, in a truck so large, troopers say “they may not have felt it or he may have thought he hit the curb.”

The boy was a student at Wetherbee Elementary School up the road from the crash. The school sent out a message to parents, saying in part “thoughts and prayers are with them as they go through this extremely difficult time.”

As on family grieves, others must have a conversation they never wanted to have. “It's a little boy. He's not here anymore, you know what I'm saying?” said Smith.

The message from the school continued to say, “I encourage you to take this opportunity to give your child a hug  and tell them how much you love them.”

FHP is looking for more witnesses and surveillance video to find the truck. It’s described as a white semi with possibly red writing on it. It’s still unclear whether the driver will be charged.