9-year-old boy and dog hit by van and killed in Land O' Lakes

A morning outing in Land O' Lakes turned tragic for a mother taking a walk with her two children and dog.
 
According to Florida Highway Patrol, all of them were hit on Bahia Loop near Turf Drive by a full-sized Chevy van around 7:45 a.m. on Wednesday.
 
Antia Pallares, 33, and her son Jorge Cruz, 9, were rushed to Bayonet Point Hospital where Jorge later died. 
 
Pallares' 7-year-old son, David, was flown to St. Joseph's Hospital.  He is listed as stable.
 
"They're a very nice family, the mother and the kids always went to church," said Andres Garcia, a family friend and neighbor.
 
The family has retained Gil Sanchez as their attorney.
 
Sanchez told ABC Action News the father is inconsolable over the loss of his son.  In addition, the mother sustained a broken leg and wrist.  She underwent surgery this morning, Sanchez said.
 
FHP said the family dog died at the scene.
 
Sanchez told ABC Action News the 7-year-old is expected to be released from the hospital in the next 24 hours.
 
"They walk every day.  The only reason they walk over here is because their sister lives right next to us.  That's where they were going to.  They weren't even maybe ten feet away," Garcia added.
 
The van was driven by John Ryals, 21, of Land O' Lakes.  Ryals declined to speak with ABC Action News on camera.
 
"He got out of his truck and he seemed confused.  He did not know what to do and my mom was telling him, 'You need to go and help them,'" Garcia said.
 
Investigators say the family was walking on the right side of the roadway at the time of the accident.
 
Ryals was cited for careless driving.  FHP troopers say alcohol was not a factor in this accident.
 
According to FHP, a large tree that casts a shadow on to Bahia Loop made it difficult for Ryals to see the family walking.
Print this article Back to Top

Comments