Vehicle strikes three youths

Published: Friday, August 1, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, August 2, 2008 at 12:50 a.m.

Three youths — two siblings and a third visiting from out of state — were seriously injured when they were struck by a vehicle on U.S. 441 in High Springs on Thursday night.

High Springs Police still were investigating Friday what led to the accident that occurred shortly before 9 p.m.

Ashley Rivers, 15, her brother Mikael, 12, both of High Springs, and a friend, Aspen Ladue, 14, of Vermont, had started to walk across the road in the 300 block of U.S. 441 after stopping at a local convenience store when they were hit, said Police Chief James Troiano.

The three all suffered critical injuries, Troiano said, and Mikael had to be airlifted to Shands at the University of Florida after the accident.

Ashley was listed in fair condition at Shands on Friday. Updates on the condition of the other two youths were not available from the hospital.

Christine Mckee, 56, of High Springs was driving west on 441 in a newer model Honda in the highway’s inside lane when the accident occurred.

The accident took place in a well-lit portion of the roadway where there was no specific crossing for pedestrians, Troiano said.

The youths had been at the Island Food Store in the 600 block of Highway 441 shortly before, an employee told police. They apparently were heading home when they were hit, according to officers.

Police found a few bags of chips, a Pepsi bottle and a melted ice cream bar on the ground nearby.

Police said the three also had cell phones, two of which were recovered by officers. At least one of those phones was found on the ground at the scene of the accident.

Troiano said an employee at Island Food Store noted one of the three had been using a cell phone at the business. But police did not know if any of the youths were on a phone when they were hit.

The scene was “chaotic,” Troiano said, with the injured youths’ parents, paramedics and officers all at the accident site. Witnesses and initial reports from the location described the injured youths screaming for help.

Police have found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing by the driver, Troiano said. Blood was collected from the motorist and will be tested, he said.

Ashley Rivers is listed as a member of the High Springs Mayor’s Youth Council Board, according to the city’s Web site. The council helps educate youth about local government, the site states.

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