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Grieving family calling for safer bus stops in Pinellas County

Ethan Weiser was walking to his bus stop when he was hit by a car and killed.

CLEARWATER, Fla. — A Pinellas County family is advocating for change after Ethan Weiser was killed walking to his bus stop.

The 15-year-old high school sophomore was hit by a car in front of his younger sister and now Ethan's family is advocating for safer bus stops.

Ethan's uncle, Matt Croasmun woke up early Monday morning to see firsthand what crossing Belleair Road looked like for Ethan.

"It's dark. There's not a lot of light. Not a lot of time for a driver to react," said Croasmun.

A spokesperson with Pinellas County Schools says Ethan's bus stop met state and more stringent district guidelines.

Safety was top of mind Monday at the Clearwater City Council workshop session. Matt Croasman attended the workshop to express his desire to speak to the council at Thursday's meeting.

Whit Blanton, the executive director with Forward Pinellas, a transportation planning agency presented Clearwater City Council with research about the dangers of Pinellas County roads.

Later Blanton told 10 Tampa Bay he's familiar with the area where Weiser was killed.

"I feel like it is one of those stretches of roadways where it can be pretty dark at night before daylight. It's also an area where we don't have crosswalks," said Blanton.

According to Blanton, in recent years, Pinellas County has doubled the national average of pedestrian deaths. Some reasons include how densely populated the county is, the high number of out-of-state drivers due to tourism, and outdated infrastructure.

"Pinellas County was largely developed in the 1950s, '60s and '70s when automobile was the dominant form of transportation. We've built our communities primarily around suburban, highway-oriented travel by automobile so walking, bicycling, things like that, generally have been an afterthought."

Flowers lined Belleair Road in Clearwater Monday symbolizing a tragic loss and perhaps a call for change.

"We're asking a 15-year-old at 6:30 in the morning to make calculations on whether or not they're going to beat the car to the side of the street they need to get to based off the angle or the glare of the headlights," said Croasmun.

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