CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – Family and friends are calling for safety changes on Pinellas County roads after high school student Ethan Weiser lost his life crossing a street for his school bus.
“For 180 days out of the year, kids are in school, so at least for 180 days lets make the roads safer for them, as well as us,” Ethan’s grandfather Charles Croasmun said.
Near where Florida Highway Patrol troopers said a car struck and killed the 15-year-old Largo High School sophomore Friday morning, family, friends and members of the teen’s church came together Thursday night for a candlelight vigil.
“What Ethan loved most was helping,” Croasmun said. “Everybody has two hands. I think had six because he was always willing to help.”
Croasman said he’d pick his grandson up from school every Monday.
“We enjoyed being with each other,” he said. “Ethan was a loving grandson, a loving cousin. He had 17 cousins. He enjoyed life to his fullest.”
Weiser’s youngest sister was with him during the final moments of his life.
“She still has to cross this road every day to get to her bus stop at Nursery Road,” Croasmun said. “For whatever reasons, we’re not questioning or challenging that, but please Pinellas County School system, take a look at the bus stops.”
Families in the area told 8 On Your Side the stretch of Bellaire Road is too dark in the morning for a bus stop. There is also no crosswalk at the intersection with S. Haven Road.
The Executive Director of Forward Pinellas Whit Blanton said they are reviewing the factors that contributed to this fatal pedestrian crash.
“We do have a school transportation safety committee that meets periodically throughout the year and that committee could take part in review of things like bus stop placement and lightning conditions,” Blanton said.
For Ethan’s family, a light in there lives has been lost too soon.
“He was a young man growing in so many ways,” Croasmun said, “not just physically, but spiritually.”
Family and friends will gather Friday afternoon for a celebration of Ethan’s life at his family’s church in Largo.