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Family hit by van while walking dog | News

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Family hit by van while walking dog

LAND O' LAKES, Florida -- A boy and a dog were killed and several other family members injured after they were struck while walking along a road by a truck Wednesday morning.

Jorge Cruz, 9, was taken to Bayonet Point Hospital where he died from his injuries. His mother, Anita Pallares, 33, is being treated at Bayonet Point. Another son, David Cruz, 7, was airlifted to St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa and is in stable condition .

John Ryals, 21, of Land O'Lakes, was driving a van for Precision Appliances when he struck the family about 7:45 a.m. as they were walking on Bahia Loop near their home in Land O' Lakes. The Florida Highway Patrol said the crash was an accident.

Ryals said he did not see the family when he hit them.


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Ryals did not want to talk on camera but he told FHP there was shade where the family was walking and he couldn't see them along the road, even though troopers said they were walking on the correct side of the road.

A blue stroller the family had been walking with was left in pieces that a neighbor removed from the road.

Neighbors say they were a wonderful family and always playing with their cousins in the neighborhood.

Andres Garcia, a neighbor, who is friends with them, said his mother saw what happened after she heard the crash from inside her home.


"She heard the big boom and that's when she came out running," Garcia said. "She saw the van coming slow and he had got out like he was going to run but my mom said he looked confused and she told me she told him you need to go and help them."

Ryals stayed until the family was taken to the hospitals. He has been charged with careless driving.

Neighbors said the area has been safe, but they would like to see some speed bumps added to the road to slow the drivers because there are no sidewalks.


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