Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Family grieves for boy's brief life


Published December 30, 2006

CLEARWATER - For the bubbly little boy who wanted to be a fireman, Thursday started as a day full of promise.
Four-year-old Joshua Angel Morrow kissed his grandmother goodbye at the door to his preschool.
"He said, 'I love you, Mommy, pick me up later,' " said Brenda Andujar, 41, who was raising Joshua for her 25-year-old daughter who lives in Jacksonville.
It was the last thing he'd say to her.
Joshua and family friend Ronald Bishop Jr., 42, were killed later that day by a hit-and-run driver as they tried to cross the Courtney Campbell Parkway.
The family grieved Friday, as investigators unraveled what happened.
Andujar looked at a photo of Joshua dressed in a firefighter's suit and talked about his Christmas. He got a puppy that he named Tai.
"We had an awesome Christmas," said Andujar, who last year took Joshua to New Jersey where he saw snow for the first time. This year, she said, "We told him because there was no snow Santa had to come in a pickup."
On Thursday, Andujar couldn't get away from her job at a cafe on Clearwater Beach, so she asked Bishop, her childhood friend, to pick Joshua up at 4 p.m.
From school, the two went to North Tampa to visit with Bishop's half brother, Andrew Baglio.
"He was just being a good little kid, like normal," said Baglio, 37. "He was playing with the Christmas tree and my dogs."
On the way home, Bishop's truck broke down on the busy Courtney Campbell Parkway near Rocky Point. Bishop parked at a hotel and called Baglio for help. Then he and Joshua crossed the busy causeway for something to drink.
Heading back, they made it across the eastbound lanes safely.
As they tried to cross the westbound lanes at about 7 p.m., a Chrysler PT Cruiser stopped to let them through, police said, but a sport utility vehicle in the next lane kept going and hit them. Witnesses told police it was going 40 to 45 mph.
The SUV's driver slowed at first, as if to stop, then sped away, police said. The PT Cruiser's driver gave chase and got the SUV's tag number.
A doctor and other drivers desperately tried to resuscitate Bishop and Joshua. Meanwhile, Clearwater police soon stopped the SUV and arrested Armando Lopez-Canada, 26, of Clearwater.
Lopez-Canada was charged with leaving the scene of an accident with fatalities and driving with an expired license, said Tampa police Officer Lisa Parashis.
Lopez-Canada, who got a driver's license using a Mexican passport and immigration paperwork, may be in the country illegally, Parashis said. Officers already determined that the three other passengers in the SUV are in the country illegally.
"I believe the reason they did not stop was they were here illegally and they took off not knowing what to do, fearing deportation," Parashis said.
Parashis said officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had been notified.
The three passengers in the SUV are not facing criminal charges, said Tampa police spokeswoman Laura McElroy. Police were not releasing their names because they are witnesses, she said.
Larry Coggins, a spokesman for the Florida Highway Patrol, said the best-case scenario would have been for the walkers to wait until there was no traffic before trying to cross from the median.
But, he said, if the pedestrians were in the median, the PT Cruiser would likely have been best off to keep moving. Once the pedestrians are in the road, however, drivers should do their best to take evasive action to avoid a crash.
Still, Coggins said it's a tough call.
"They're stopping to do the right thing, and then (the pedestrians) end up getting killed," he said. But by the same token, "No one's ever going to advocate stopping a vehicle on a major roadway."
On Friday, Joshua's family described how he brightened their days when they felt down.
"If you were in a bad mood, that smile would just change you," said Brandon Morrow, Joshua's 17-year-old uncle. "One of his favorite sayings when people were sad was, 'You're breaking my heart.' "
It was the same at ABC KiDS preschool, just down Belleair Road from Belmont Mobile Home Park where the family lived. The ABC KiDS staff knew Joshua as a boy who was so excited to go to preschool that he rushed the front door each morning. He couldn't reach the doorknob, so he pounded on the door to have someone let him in.
"We knew when we heard the door it was not a stranger," said Trista Gallina, 35, the school's director.
His teacher, Jennifer Alghazawi, 31, said his favorite song included the line, "I want to ride on a firetruck." The last words that Gallina and Alghazawi said they heard from Joshua were "I love you."
On Friday, a little girl brought a stuffed animal to play with Joshua because she knew he liked animals. Gallina had not yet told the little girl or the other children about Joshua's death. She was first trying to schedule grief counselors for next week.
"We kept waiting for him to knock on the door," Alghazawi said.


bren223 said...

Thank You Faye for posting the story on my grandson Joshua Angel Morrow. My brother's name is Ronald Bishop not Robert.The man accused is still in jail awaiting trial but the other 3 illegals that were in the vehicle with him were released. Once again, thank you for getting his story out there.

Aunt Kristi said...

I just feel that Joshua's life was taken from us. And the one that did it is not in the states legally. where is the justice for Joshua. This little bundle of energy has brought two different families together and made us one because of his incredible LOVE that he had for everyone. He was my daughter little brother in their hearts they knew no different. She has lost a brother and best friend and she is only 5. everything she does or gets she still members her little cubby and he gets something too.
Joshua is sooo dearly missed! I cry for him daily and wish I could have gotton one more smile from him before he left us. I don't hate the person that hit him but I hate the fact that he left him laying there in the road. He was still a baby.
Aunt Kristi will always love that little guy.

Aunt Kristi

Faye said...

Thank you both for writing. I also chose Joshua's story to submit to ALIPAC. They are making flyers to send to Congress. If you'd like to see Joshua's flyer, go to ALIPAC, General Discussions, scroll down til you get to Honoring Lost Americans Memorials.

I have also raised grandbabies. And I lost a son... not to illegals, but I don't believe it matters how you lose them. The pain is intense and overwhelming.

Joshua was a baby, looking to us for his protection which was not provided by our country. If it's of any consolation, know that his death has made a lot of us very angry and we are working hard to see that this insanity is stopped.

In addition to ALIPAC's efforts, I have people copying the stories on this site and sending them to Congress, media, and local government. Some of them are copying and handing out at rallies going on around the country.

I apologize for Ronald's name being incorrect; it was wrong in one of my sources. I have corrected it on this site. I'd be more than happy to add his picture if you should decide to send one. There were none in any of the sources. There's plenty of room.

Our prayers are with you.

Anonymous said...

I cannot imagine the pain you must fill. Joshua's grandfather in Jacksonville told me his story and I have been very touched by it. Remain strong in your faith and know that Angel is with his God looking after all of you everyday.