Family honors dead teen by pushing for more safety at Florida State Fair

Hillsborough County

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – It’s one of the busiest days at the Florida State Fair; family day. This day, once known as student day, is plagued with a dark history. One where a Hillsborough teen was killed after he was kicked out of the fair.

While the Florida State Fair is open to families, outside the fair gates one family is spending their day reminding people about their son Andrew Joseph, III. He died six years ago when he was kicked out of the fair along with 100 other teens that Hillsborough deputies say got too rowdy. The 14-year-old was killed that night trying to cross I-4.

“You know there was a fire that started inside of me, inside of the community, inside of my family. We weren’t going to let this happen to another set of families. We don’t want anyone having to stand in these shoes again,” says Andrew’s dad, Andrew Joseph, II.

Over the years, changes include new cameras, rules set for students, and on family night, a team of community volunteers, Hillsborough Resource Officers, and even the sheriff walking out to be seen and ready to help if there’s a need.

The Joseph family says more needs to be done as they urge fair organizers to now ban guns from the event.

“Have a great time, make some memories, and be able to go home and be productive citizen for the rest of their lives. Not to come to the Fair and come home like my son in ziploc bag,” says Andrew’s dad.

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