CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) — At Saturday night’s vigil for 15-year-old Ethan Weiser, they lit candles and sang his favorite song.
“A year ago we sat here at the same place and we mourned the loss of our grandson Ethan,” his grandfather Charles Croasmun said, “but today we celebrate his life.”
Family and friends gathered near the intersection of Belleair Road and South Haven Drive where the Largo High School student lost his life walking to his bus stop on Aug. 26, 2022.
“Obviously, it’s not something anyone plans for, nobody has a playbook on how to do it,” Ethan’s uncle Matt Croasmun said.
But Ethan’s family has come up with a playbook to honor his life by hopefully saving others.
“We want to make sure that nobody else learns another person’s name because of this type of situation,” Matt said.
Ethan’s uncle has attended meetings in Pinellas County over the past year to advocate for changes to improve pedestrian safety, especially in school zones and around bus stops.
There is now a crosswalk down the road from where the car struck his nephew.
“That’s a great example of change that could happen and that could have been a difference between Ethan being here or not,” Matt said, “so thankfully we’re glad that it’s there.”
This family’s mission of making sure all students can get to school safely will continue as they keep Ethan’s memory alive.
“And we should expect more from our counties and cities in the state to make that as safe as possible,” Matt said.
Cities and towns have worked with the Pinellas County School Board to move bus stops to locations with better lighting, he added.
Ethan Weiser should have just started his junior year of high school.