Lehigh Acres dad grieves for son, 8, struck at bus stop
The father of 8-year-old Brandon Castillo, who died Wednesday morning at Tampa Children’s Hospital, stood by a small cross that a family member had erected at East 10th Street and Hamilton Avenue in Lehigh Acres.
The cross is located near the spot where the boy was hit by a minivan just before 8 a.m. Tuesday after he reportedly ran from a school bus stop into the intersection.
Friends and family members, many from Immokalee and who traveled to Tampa, joined Brandon’s father late Wednesday afternoon to stand beside him at the accident site, some giving him hugs.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the boy ran out in front of the vehicle while it was traveling east on East 10th Street and was stuck.
The driver of the minivan, Doris Toombs, 27, of Stafford Creek Court, Lehigh Acres, remained at the scene following the accident. FHP reported Toombs became so upset that she was taken to Lehigh Regional Medical Center where she was treated for shock.
Two children in the vehicle Toombs was driving were not injured, police said.
Brandon’s father, who asked that his first name not be used, said he wanted to meet Toombs and talk to her.
“I have forgiven her … I want her to know that. I know it was not her intent for this to happen,” he said.
As Brandon’s father looked off into the distance and said little while visiting the site where his son was hit, friends said he wanted to be there after he and the others returned from the hospital in Tampa.
Brandon died at about 9 a.m., according to his father. He had been airlifted to Tampa General Hospital from Lee Memorial Hospital.
“I was with him, talking to him, but I don’t know if he heard. I was with him when he passed away,” he said.
Brandon was a third-grader at Treeline Elementary School. School officials said they would offer counseling to the students.
Funeral arrangements are being handled by Brister Funeral Home, 221 N. Third St., Immokalee. Those who want to donate may call the funeral home at 657-3500.
“It’s going to cost to bury my boy and I don’t know where the money is going to come from,” Brandon’s father said.
The small cross, erected near the accident site, is made out of PVC pipe and is painted a bright orange. Two solar lights illuminate it and a wreath, which was placed there Wednesday evening.
Benny Starling, a First Baptist Church minister, was on hand to be with the family and their friends. Brandon’s father said he had attended the church a few times.