[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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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by christian gurule Location: holbrook arizona on Apr 19, 2012 at 09:38 AM
    this was my cousin my best friend and most of all he was more like a brother to me i loved him and i still do i always thought i would be the first one to go...steven will always be in my heart his birthdays coming up and our family will still celebrate it i love u little bro we will c each other some day i cry every day for you steven i love you
  • by just a freind Location: tallahassee on Jan 4, 2011 at 08:24 PM
    steven was my best freind im 13 he was my neighboor and lived on my property the day befor we were having a fun day playing on our go karts i wish people would stop being so inconsiderate to the familys and stop fighting im still best freinds with his sister and his family but terrel ralndolph its hard to say what i want to say so i wont ....
  • by Sarah Location: springhill rd. on Nov 16, 2010 at 01:32 PM
    i live on springhill rd one street up from where the accident happend, and personally i hate this road because it doesnt matter what time of day it is someone is always flying down this road... i have seen 1 to many dogs get hit and my bestfriends dog got hit right in front of me and the a** hole didnt hit his breaks or even stop to see if she was okay... there needs to be something done like radar zones or something, this situation could have been avoided and its just an all around bad road. i have 2 little kids and couldnt imagine if they got killed, i dont like them playin out side cuz u never know what could happen, there has been so many deaths of all kinds on this road and no one has done anything... my thoughts go out to both families but most of all to the one who got killed... and i hope that the county or someone does something to atleast give people speeding tickets, its a very busy road and SOMETHING NEEDS TO CHANGE!!!!!
  • by been there... on Nov 13, 2010 at 05:05 PM
    Sarah, I can relate to what you are saying. It's important that while having sympathy for the family dealing with the loss, PLEASE people do not underestimate the grief and emotions had by the other party. Contrary to popular beliefs, the other person does NOT just walk on with their as though nothing ever happened! This is something that haunts them daily. It's so easy to get wrapped up with the loss of the person and neglect to consider what the other person must be going through and live with for the rest of their lives. This is not to say, that it is any comparison to the hurt of that family! There are decent and good people that bad things happen to...not only the victim, per say. Accidents do happen and sure there are things that EVERYONE could do differently on the roads to avoid such, but be very careful in judging, you may just experience it yourself someday! My prayers go for both families, as this will haunt both sides. Terrell, prayers are certainly with you! God Bless!
  • by sarah on Nov 13, 2010 at 07:32 AM
    Terrell has and still is suffering an enormous amount grief. I can tell you that on a personal level. This was merely an accident and he wishes every day that he wouldve seen steven or coudld've done something differently to avoid it. He wants to take it back but a death isn't a give or take situation. He may not have been charged on a prison level but his life has an unbearable mark on it. I feel so bad for him and the families involved. I've cried many nights for the safety and grief of both parties. My heart goes out to all of you and I'm so sorry everyone is suffering. Steven must of been a really great kid and God was ready for him!
  • by Anonymous on Nov 12, 2010 at 07:55 AM
    my prayers go to the family who lost a loved one. but i have somehting to say for the peeps who drive and walkers who dont pay attention. you peeps have turn signals use them, quit stopping in the middle of the road to talk to your friends its a street not a playground that is why we have these accidents. and when we say something then its racist. well let me say something i used to live in tally. but i left becuase all the drama but when i come to tally to south side near famu and fairgrounds. yall people dont think about anyone but yourselves and you want to know why people are racist. you bring it upon yourselves your selfish. this really doesnt have anything to do with victim but its the area where people dont follow the laws and rules for the road. and kids need to quit crossing the street illegally we do have sidewalks and walks on the road where you walk at. i am a mom of 4 and i even dont let my 15 year old cross the road to WHS.
  • by Lynn Location: wak on Nov 12, 2010 at 06:27 AM
    Dont you think Terrell is suffering enough? By accidently taking someones life? Leave it alone. To Local- Said very well!! im going to copy & Paste so it can be read again! "It's hard to believe with a tragedy like this that it could simply be explained as an accident. Everyone needs to place blame when a young life is taken unnecessarily. I feel for the family and friends of Steven but also youg Terrell who will have to live with this the rest of his promising young life. Whether Terrell gets charged or not is will be living in his own emotional prison for having to witness this, hopefully his family will get him the counseling he needs regardless. Two young lives were taken in an instance: Steven's and Terrell's. Hopefully this accident will allow the city to make improvements such as lights, sidewalks and bus stops along Springhill Road to avoid other tragedies like this one. The best thing we can do is to learn from mistakes and hope to change them so they do not happen again"
  • by LAW STUDENT Location: TALLAHASSEE on Nov 11, 2010 at 09:59 AM
    316.185 Special hazards. — The fact that the speed of a vehicle is lower than the prescribed limits shall not relieve the driver from the duty to decrease speed when approaching and crossing an intersection, when approaching and going around a curve, when approaching a hill crest, when traveling upon any narrow or winding roadway, or when special hazards exist or may exist with respect to pedestrians or other traffic or by reason of weather or other roadway conditions, and speed shall be decreased as may be necessary to avoid colliding with any person, vehicle, or other conveyance on or entering the street in compliance with legal requirements and the duty of all persons to use due care. A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a moving violation as provided in chapter 318. History. — s. 1, ch. 71-135; s. 136, ch. 99-248. I WOULD CONSIDER THE DARK A SPECIAL HAZARD AS WELL AS A STOPPED BUS.THIS PERSON SHOULD HAVE BEEN GOING SLOWER.
  • by Anonymous on Nov 11, 2010 at 08:29 AM
    There are no token walks...accidents are what they are called! Its time for our communities to start healing and getting away from "this person and that person"! Accidents in both cases, so stop the continuous need of drama in our community! No one intends or sets out for this sort of tragedy. Unless alcohol or drugs are a factor, which would be intent, NO ONE sets out for such! Accidents happen and if we are not careful, the same can happen to us...then would it be an accident? I hope that this family can find peace in God through this horrible and difficult time in their lives!
  • by beth and local citizen on Nov 10, 2010 at 06:37 PM
    this will probably end up being a token walk so they can justify the killing of a child by a lcso deputy's wife back in may. everyone better watch out now, they've made their descision, so now it's even. no more freebee's for anyone else for the rest of the year.
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