After 9-year-old killed, family wants answers - FOX 13 News

After 9-year-old killed, family wants answers

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LAND O' LAKES (FOX 13) -

He was just 9 years old when he was struck and killed by a van while walking with his mother and brother in their neighborhood.

Today, the family of the little boy killed in Land O' Lakes last week held a news conference with their attorney. They're conducting their own investigation into how the accident happened.

The Cruz-Pallares family is still grieving the loss of 9-year-old Jorge. His mother is still in the hospital with multiple fractures and his little brother was just released Friday.

Jorge Cruz Sr. held tight to his 7-year-old son while his attorney held a news conference to say he's doing an investigation of his own into how the family was hit.

The driver of the van, 21-year-old John Ryals, was cited for careless driving. But the Florida Highway Patrol says it's still investigating whether more charges are warranted.

Attorney Gil Sanchez Valencia says they have reason to believe it was more than just an accident, and he interpreted for Anita Pallares' very emotional sister.

"A very strong point that she makes is, why is it that when a Hispanic passes a red light and gets stopped, they arrest him? And here you have a Hispanic family who obviously died tragically and sent somebody else to the hospital and they don't even arrest him?"

Jorge's fourth-grade teacher from Pine View Elementary also spoke. Tiffany Sentner said everyone in her class was effected by the tragedy:

"He was an amazing young man and it's sad to have lost him," she said. "He was loved by everyone in his class. And I can say that wholeheartedly; there wasn't a student in my class who wasn't friends with him."

Jorge and David's mother was expected to be released from the hospital late today. She had two surgeries for her broken wrist and foot and is expected to have four to six months of rehab.

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