Orlando Sentinel

Family blames Disney for son’s death at Fort Wilderness

REDINGTON BEACH — The family of Chase Brubaker today is blaming Walt Disney World for the death of the 9-year-old boy at Disney's Fort Wilderness in a traffic crash Thursday.

"They killed my son," distraught, angry and grieving mother Kelly Brubaker said today from her beachside community near St. Petersburg.

Also today, Reedy Creek Emergency Services, which handles Walt Disney World's emergency calls, released three separate recordings of a 911 calls reporting the crash. Witnesses told dispatchers there was little hope the 9-year-old would survive after his collision with a bus.

The crash took place about 1:35 p.m. on Big Pine Drive, as the boy and a friend bicycled to the campground's arcade.

According to a preliminary investigation by the Florida Highway Patrol, Chase drifted from a sidewalk and struck the right-hand side of the bus, near its center.

Chase was pulled underneath and run over by the bus' right-rear tire, troopers said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Boy was on sidewalk, family says

Chase's family disputes FHP's preliminary findings.

Barbara Burkett, the boy's grandmother, said the friend who was with Chase during the accident told her that she and Brubaker were on the sidewalk when the bus struck the boy.

Burkett did not identify the girl, but said she lives near the Brubaker family in Redington Beach.

The sidewalk and roadway are separated by a narrow strip of well-worn grass — a sign that vehicles have crossed over the area in the past.

The girl heard, but didn't see, what happened, she told the boy's relatives, though the girl insists they never left the sidewalk.

Florida Highway Patrol spokeswoman Kim Montes said today that physical evidence from the scene and witness statements support troopers' preliminary conclusions.

"I think a lot of people think the bus struck the little boy. Technically, that's not right. The bus didn't hit the child. The child ran into the side of the bus."

Asked to respond to the family's accusations, Disney officials reiterated their previous comment expressing their sympathies. They said they are offering counseling to all of those involved in the tragedy.

Read more... http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/breakingnews/os-disney-bus-crash-20100402,0,5954708.story


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Robert R. HendryRobert R. Hendry received both a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Florida. Although he began his career in Pensacola, Florida, Mr. Hendry has practiced law in Orlando for more than thirty years.
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