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[UPDATE] Accident on Springhill and Sprinil Road: Student Killed

By: Eyewitness News; Heather Biance, Lanetra Bennett Email
By: Eyewitness News; Heather Biance, Lanetra Bennett Email

A driver who struck and killed a Rickards High School student this fall will not face any criminal charges for it.

16-year-old Steven Gurule was struck and killed as he crossed Springhill Road to catch his bus back in August. Tuesday Leon County Sheriff's Office released its findings.. it determined neither speed, alcohol nor drugs was a factor in the crash and a spokesman says the school bus had not yet deployed its flashing lights or stop sign when Gurule was hit.

The state attorney's office determined no criminal charges were warranted.
SGT James McQuaig says, "It's a terrible tragedy and there's nothing we'll be able to say or do that's going to bring this child back. He was wearing dark clothes, he was on an unlit street in the dark and he stepped out in front of traffic."

Some of Gurule's Neighbors say there should be some sort of repercussion because as they understood while the red lights and stop signs were not extend, the yellow caution lights were activated- and say people tend to speed down that stretch of Springhill Road.

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Updated 11-10 12:41pm

The driver of a car which struck and killed a Rickards High student on Springhill Road earlier this fall will not face any criminal charges. A spokesman with the LCSO said that it presented its findings to the State Attorney's Office and they refused to press charges. 16-year-old Steven Gurule, who was a sophomore at Rickard High, was struck and killed August 31 as he crossed the street to board his school bus.

LCSO spokesman James McQuaig says the investigation found that the school bus light and stop sign had not been deployed, and that speed, alcohol, and drugs were not a factor in accident.

LCSO has issued a statement:

On August 31, 2010, at approximately 6:24 a.m., the Leon County Sheriff’s Office received reports of a traffic crash on Springhill Road near the intersection of Sprinil Road. Uniform Patrol Deputies
responded to the scene and discovered that Steven Gurule, a sixteen year old Rickards High School student, had been struck by a car near his school bus stop. Gurule did not survive the crash.

The investigation at the scene indicated that Gurule was struck by a gold 1993 Nissan Altima driven by Tarell Randolph, 22, of Sopchoppy.

LCSO’s Traffic Homicide Unit responded to the scene and investigated the crash. After an extensive investigation, the facts of the case were presented to the State Attorney’s Office and the decision has
been made not to pursue any criminal charges in this case.

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Updated 9-1 8:35pm

Leon County investigators say an autopsy confirms that the Rickards High School Student who was hit and killed by a car died of blunt force trauma consistent with a traffic crash.

News of the teen's death is circulating among his friends.

16-year-old Steven Gurule spent his freshman year at Godby High School before starting his sophomore year at Rickards this past week.

Godby High School Principal Jean Ferguson says he had a "sophisticated" sense of humor.

One of his close friends simply calls it a "crazy sense of humor."
Kaila Marie Brown says she was called into the principal's office at Godby High School.

But, she wasn't in trouble.

She happened to be visiting Wednesday, and the principal gave her the news that her friend, 16-year-old Steven Gurule was dead.

"I started crying." She said.

But, a smile replaces her tears when she said, "He was a very good friend. He could always cheer you up. He had a crazy sense of humor, he could make anybody laugh."

Leon County Sheriff's deputies say a car hit and killed Gurule just before 6:30 Tuesday morning.

Authorities say he was crossing the street to catch his school bus near the intersection of Sprinil Road and Springhill Road.

Missy Spears lives on Sprinil Road. She said, "Everybody knows that people speed up and down Springhill Road. When school's in, you just don't do it, you just don't do it. Abide them dangum signs and go slower. A child's lost his life. I am actually devastated."

Gurule had just started 10th grade at Rickards High. But, even the principal at Godby says he made an impression when he was there for 9th grade.

"I knew him as Smurf." Said, Principal Jean Ferguson.

That was because of his propensity to dye his hair blue and other bright colors, which Principal Ferguson could actually relate to.

Ferguson said, "My daughter had dyed her hair a purple and I asked him if he was getting the reaction that he had anticipated with his hair He would come back with remarks that were quite intelligent."

Authorities say the driver of the 1993 Nissan Altima that hit Gurule is 22-year-old Tarell Randolph from Sopchoppy, Florida.

He has not been charged. Investigators say they'll make a decision in a matter of days or weeks.

We will keep you posted.

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*** Update 5:30 PM 9-1-2010 ***
The Leon County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate the crash that left sixteen year old Steven Gurule dead yesterday morning (8-31). Preliminary results from an autopsy indicate Gurule died from blunt force trauma consistent with a traffic crash. Gurule was struck by a 1993 Nissan Altima being driven by Tarell Randolph on August 31, 2010 at approximately 6:24 a.m. The crash happened near the intersection of Springhill Road and Sprinil Road.
On Wednesday September 1, deputies from the Traffic Homicide Unit continued a forensic examination of the scene and the vehicle involved in order to possibly determine the cause of the crash. This investigation is continuing and more information should become available in the near future.
Sheriff Larry Campbell stated, “We have always had a high volume of pedestrian traffic in Leon County. Because of this fact, we all have an obligation to use extreme caution and be on the look out for others.”

The following safety tips are reminders to us all during this back to school season.

-Use caution at all times when operating a motor vehicle.
-Do not exceed the posted speed limit and use headlights in low light or inclement weather
conditions.
-Pay special attention to school zones and the areas near crosswalks and school bus stops.
-Be mindful of children and other pedestrians along the sides of the road near peak times for
school traffic.
-If your children ride the bus, remind them to stay at the bus stop until the bus is completely
stopped and its red lights are flashing. Then they should proceed with caution and board
the bus.

updated 8-31-10 at 6:07pm by Heather Biance

Investigators say 16-year-old Steven Gurule was crossing the busy Springhill Road this morning to catch his bus when he was hit by 22 year old Tarell Randolph.

And as the hours pass and neighbors try to get back to their normal routine, they tell me, Springhill Road is far too dangerous to have students cross.

As Jamila Robinson steps off the school bus, she can't help but flashback to hours earlier when her friend Steven Gurule was hit and killed by a car.

"I was supposed to catch the bus with him, but I woke up late."

Now, Robinson wonders what could have happened if she was there to walk with her classmate.

"I was thinking about it all day at school. I kept thinking, what if I was with him, because we were supposed to catch the bus together this morning. What if we were together, could I have prevented it. I kept feeling guilty, I don't know why, it was just a guilty emotion," says Jamila Robinson.

"My son would have to walk from the house over to this corner of the their street and would have to cross the street to wait for the bus stop."

Casey Gay lives on Sprinil Road, just feet away from where the crash happened. She says it's incidents like this, that keep her from letting her children ride the bus to school.

"I wouldn't want to even cross this road myself. I don't even want to walk down it, so I definitely don't want to stand by it with my kids," says Casey Gay.

The Leon County Sheriff's Office is investigating who was at fault in this incident and if any charges will be filed against the driver.

An eyewitness, driving to work this morning, says she saw the buses' stop sign lying on the ground, but officials haven't confirmed if that was from the car hitting it or not.

There are still a lot of unanswered questions and we'll bring you the very latest tonight on eyewitness news at 11:00 and around the clock on wctv.tv.

Additional Facts:

One Mom we spoke to who lives on Sprinil Road (which intersects with Springhill road where the accident happened) says this very same bus stop has been a problem for decades.

Although her kids are grown now, she says she asked the school district to change the bus routes so her two children (who were in elementary school at the time) didn't have to cross Springhill Road to catch the bus.

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UPDATED 4:50pm

The Leon County Sheriff's Office has identified the Rickards High School student killed on Springhill Road Tuesday morning as 16 year old Steven Gurule.

An autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow.

LCSO says the driver of the gold Nissan Altima that hit him is 22 year old Tarell Randolph of Sopchoppy.

LCSO's Traffic Homicide Unit is still investigating the cause of the accident.

WCTV has included the latest press release from the LCSO.

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[UPDATED] 1:29PM

An email from Dr. Michelle Gayle, Principal of Rickards High School, was sent out to the parents of Rickards High, pertaining to the death of a student on Springhill Road.

"Good morning –

We have experienced a loss this morning involving one of our scholars. The parents of the scholar have been informed of our tragic loss. Our Superintendent, members of the district leadership team, Dr. Randy Pridgeon (Secondary Schools Executive Director), and grief counselors from throughout the district are on site to help our school community deal with this loss.

Please keep the family of our scholar in your thoughts and prayers."

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[UPDATED] 10:45AM --

The Leon County Schools web site indicates there is a school bus stop for Rickards High School at the corner of Springhill and Sprinil, with an approximate pick up time of 6:22am.

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[UPDATE] 9:13AM

Officials confirmed that the adolescent involved was a student at Rickards High School.

[UPDATE] (9:02AM)

The Leon County Sheriff's Office says a juvenile has been killed in what they are calling a traffic homicide.

Deputies say the juvenile was hit by a car at the intersection of Springhill and Sprinil Roads. They say the adolescent was dead when they arrived on scene at about 6:24AM this morning (8/31). Officials aren't releasing the name, age, or gender of the juvenile at this time. A Leon County school bus was also on scene when deputies arrived, but they say the bus was not directly involved in the incident. Authorities believe the investigation will reveal exactly how the school bus was involved.
No other injuries have been reported, and Leon County Schools are not making any comments at this time.

Authorities say Springhill Road is still closed from the area of Capital Circle to Springsax Road

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Tallahassee, Florida -- Eyewitness News -- August 31 (7:27AM)

The Leon County Sheriff's Office is investigating what appears to be a traffic homicide. LCSO's Traffic Unit is on the scene of Springhill and Sprinil Road. Authorities say Springhill Road will be closed from the area of Capital Circle to Springsax Road.

We will bring you more information as it becomes available.


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