Safety summit held in honor of teen who died crossing I-4

Brandon, Florida -- Family, friends, and a football team joined together today to remember a young man who they say died too soon.

Sunday would have been Andrew Joseph III's 15th birthday.

Dozens of former teammates were rained out from playing football in his honor at Brandon Ravens Field, but Andrew's mother Deanna said the rain drops wouldn't dampen her determination.

"I see this rain as tears of happiness from my son," she said.

The Josephs gathered with those who were closest to their son to call for action.

"We have to become more cognizant as a community when we entrust our children to these particular places," Deanna Joseph said.

Andrew Joseph III was killed while trying to cross I-4 after he was ejected from the Florida State Fair. His father said that Andrew was handcuffed, threatened with a taser, and released someplace else before he was hit by a car.

"He had these dealings with the police, and to think someone was chasing him and he was actually running away from someone into the line of traffic, it's just so much more to accept," said Andrew Jospeh Jr.

Last month, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office denied those allegations, saying Joseph was not handcuffed or threatened with a taser.

That's why Deanna is trying to motivate the community.

"Protect your children, question these places. Take a second, look at the policies, do the investigation. You are entitled to that information," Deanna said.

And while Andrew's dad said legal action against the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office isn't out of the question, he said true change starts at home.

"Change starts in the community. Change don't start in the courtroom. Change ends in the courtroom. That's when it's official," he said.

Hillsborough County Sheriff's officials did not respond to a request for comment to see whether they are changing ejection policies.

Andrew Joseph III died on February 7th.


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