WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. - Jennell De La Cruz's arm was cut by flying glass as her car windshield exploded into to tiny pieces. Her husband, Rogelio, nearly lost control of the vehicle and almost crashed. And all because a 12-year old middle school student threw a nearly full water bottle out the window of a Pasco County school bus.
Despite that, instead of being angry, De La Cruz hopes her attacker gets forgiveness. She doesn't believe the student from Weightman Middle School in Wesley Chapel meant any harm.
"It just weighs heavy on my heart to think a young man could possibly be arrested for doing something that a lot of boys and girls could do, just being a kid," De La Cruz said. As a parent herself, she sympathizes with the child's situation.
"Knowing boys can be rambunctious," De La Cruz said. "We just didn't want something like this to scar him for life."
While the victims of the bottle bombs may be sympathetic, the Pasco school district was not. They called sheriff's deputies to arrest the boy, who investigators said could be seen in video taken from an on-board bus camera throwing the bottle bomb out of the bus window.
"I honestly thought that somebody had shot through the window," De La Cruz said.
Rogelia De La Cruz said he briefly glimpsed something flying out of the school bus at the intersection of Overpass and McKendree roads.
"I was trying to figure out what hit us. I thought it was a brick," he said.
The child confessed to investigators to throwing the water bottle. His mother said that it was part of a prank organized by other kids.
"He was dared to throw the bottle out, so he threw it. And he didn't realize he had hit another vehicle with it," said the mother, whose identity is not being revealed because her son is a minor.
She said her son recognized he made a mistake.
"He cried. He was really upset. He understands that he could have seriously hurt somebody," she said.
Still, De La Cruz said she hoped that the case not become a major crime.
"We didn't want anything that's going to cause any lasting damage to the child emotionally," she said.
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