Riverview, Florida - Charles Pesano, the executive director of the Florida State Fair Authority, says due to what happened last weekend they're making some immediate changes. That's after the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office says they had to kick 99 teenagers out of the fair because they were taking part in what's called "wilding".
The same day that news was spreading to fair goers, a Riverview father was planning two funerals for his son. Andrew Joseph Jr. spoke from his Riverview home Wednesday afternoon. He says his 14-year-old son Andrew Joseph, III is the end of his bloodline.
"We are from New Orleans we came here for a better life."
He says his son understood that he had to live up to that name and he did. He says he was an exceptional student and was well liked at St. Stephen Catholic School where on Wednesday afternoon their flag had been lowered.
Andrew Joseph Jr. admits he has a lot of questions over the way in which his son lost his life. Florida Highway Patrol says the teen was hit by an SUV while trying to cross I-4. It happened a few hours after the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office says the child was kicked out of the fair during a melee where large groups of teens ran through the Midway causing trouble.
Andrew Joseph Jr. didn't want to talk about that though and he didn't want to talk about the changes that the Florida State Fair has made since his son's death but he says he is aware of them.
Pesano says they will now limit entry to students with free tickets to before 7 p.m. each night for the duration of the fair. To get in free after 7, students under 18 have to be with an adult. The fair will also work with the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office to increase security.
The father says right now he'd rather focus on raising donations for dual funeral services. The first service for his son is going to be held on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in Valrico at St. Stephen Catholic Church at 5049 Bell Shoals Road. The other will be held next week in New Orleans.
Sonji Coney William is a friend of the family and describes the emotions they're feeling. "Unbearable. Just simply overwhelming and unbelievable."
She says the 14-year-old was affectionately called "Pee Wee" and played football for the Brandon Ravens. He'd also won all types of ribbons in track and was gearing up to graduate from the 8th grade to go on to play in high school.
A candlelight vigil is being held in his honor on Thursday, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Brandon Ravens football field at 5417 Providence Road in Riverview.
"Andrew was a phenomenal child. He was a phenomenal student and he was a phenomenal athlete with a very, very promising career ahead of him. Very jovial, very gregarious, just a delight to be around. He will truly be missed," William says.
The family is planning a news conference and they've hired an attorney, but in the meantime, they're asking for the community's support, prayers and donations.
"But even in this sorrow we are going to move forward by the grace of God and we're going to celebrate his life," William says.
The family has set up a fund to accept donations.
If you'd like to contribute to the Brandon Ravens Football League trust fund you may do so at any SunTrust bank branch in care of Andrew Joseph.
Tammie Fields, 10 News