‘Daddy, that truck just ran over that little boy': Truck sought after child hit, killed

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — A 10-year-old boy on a bike has died after being hit by a semi-truck in south Orange County, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Troopers said the incident happened near East Wetherbee Road and Landstar Boulevard around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The child, identified as Wetherbee Elementary student Kevin Pope, was taken to Arnold Palmer Hospital in Orlando where he died, troopers said.

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Grief counselors are on hand at the elementary school Thursday for students and staff in need.

“Yeah, really tough. I have my granddaughter and they go to the same school. It's really hard,” parent Sandra Roman said.

A father and son said they were horrified after seeing the truck turn into the boy while he was crossing the street.

"He was like, ‘Daddy, that truck just ran over that little boy. He hit that little boy,’" said eyewitness Cornelius Smith.

Just as Smith turned around, he saw what his 7-year-old son was talking about. He said he watched as the back tires of the semi-truck hit the child again.

Smith said it happened so fast, he's not even sure the truck driver knew they hit anyone.

Troopers are now using the boy's bike, his backpack and one of his shoes, to piece together how it happened.

Maria Aponte said her children often rode their bikes to school with Pope.
“They started riding bikes October of last year with my kids, and he met up with them and said, ‘Don't worry, they're going to be safe with me. I'm going to ride with them.’ And, he would always look out for my little daughter because she's 8,” Aponte said.

According to FHP, the truck was hauling a trailer while driving south on Wetherbee Road before turning right on Landstar Boulevard where the trailer struck Pope and knocked him to the ground as he was traveling on a crosswalk. It is believed the the right rear tires then ran over Pope.

"Just to see the little boy lifeless there on the ground like, when I look at him, it's like I'm looking at my son,” Smith said. “The little boy's laying there lifeless and they're trying to pump the life back into him."

When the Pope's mother came to the scene, Smith said she was hysterical.

Troopers said Pope had the right of way because he had a walk symbol.

The driver also had a green light, but FHP said the driver should've yielded to Pope.

Troopers said they are not calling this a hit-and-run, because they're not sure the driver even knew what happened.

Officials are looking for a white truck with blue or black lettering on the side of the cab.

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