TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A 13-year-old Polk County middle school student was struck and killed Friday while waiting for his school bus, according to authorities.
“We are terribly saddened with this transition of Jadin today,” said Dr. Debra Hudson, principal. “Mclaughlin as a family, and as a community couldn’t ask for a better representation of what it really means to be a Phoenix here at our school.”
The Lake Wales Police Department said officers were called to a pedestrian crash at the intersection of Dr. J.A. Wiltshire Avenue and Miami Street around 6:15 a.m. There, officers learned a 13-year-old boy who attends McLaughlin Middle School was waiting for his school bus when a 2013 GMC Sierra truck struck him.
He was sitting in an alleyway about 30 feet from the road. Dr. Hudson said Jadin was an 8th grader and an ESE student.
Authorities said conditions at the time were “dark and foggy,” and added there were no street lights in the immediate area, only ambient light from nearby Florida’s Natural plant.
Officers determined the GMC was traveling east on DR. J.A. Wiltshire Avenue when it turned north into the alleyway and struck the child.
The boy was rushed to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead.
“I saw students, hugging, one another comforting one another,” said Dr. Hudson. “I even talked to a student that said, I was at the bus stop with him every morning to make sure that he was safe, and that he was on the bus in a timely manner, and now Mya sign is that caretaker for him is now complete.”
Officers said the GMC was driven by 47-year-old Sherry Kinney, of Bartow. She was not injured in the crash. Neither speed nor impairment appear to be factors, police said.
“Our hearts break for the family, our hearts break for the driver and the passenger of the vehicle,” said Deputy Chief David Black, Lake Wales Police Department: “Nobody wants to ever experienced anything like this.”
An investigation is active and ongoing.
“Please join me in keeping the McLaughlin Middle High School community in your thoughts and prayers,” Polk County Superintendent Frederick Heid said. “The tragic loss of a classmate and friend today will weigh heavy on them for some time.”
The Polk County Public School District said counselors are available on campus to provide support to students and staff.
Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to contact Traffic Homicide Investigator Meyers at the Lake Wales Police Department at 863-678-4223. Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS (8477).
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