Vol 6 No. 29 - April 12, 2006

Grief follows tragedy on Manatee Avenue bridge

Friends console one another at a makeshift memorial on the Manatee Avenue bridge for Zane Zavadil and Ryan Costello, whose car crashed through the railing Saturday night. Zavadil died and Costello was critically injured.

ByTom Vaught
sun staff writer

BRADENTON – Manatee High School students sought help Monday in dealing with the death of a former student over the weekend.

Zane Anthony Zavadil, 19, a passenger in an SUV driven by fellow class of 2005 alumni Ryan Phillip Costello, 19, died when the vehicle went through the concrete guardrail fence of the Manatee Avenue bridge and plunged 17-feet into the waters of Sarasota Bay.

"Our guidance counselor, district office grief counselors, area youth pastors and our wrestling coach met with students in the cafeteria," Manatee High School Principal Jeff Asher said Monday.

Friends of the popular teen also gathered at the location on the bridge where the vehicle went through the guardrail, writing messages to Zavadil on boards put up to temporarily replace the concrete barrier. Some left flowers and there was a soccer ball left next to a post.

Zavadil died from his injuries that night and Costello was airlifted to Blake Medical Center and later transferred to Tampa General Hospital. He remained there as of Tuesday morning. Friends of Costello said his condition was still critical.

A Florida Highway Patrol report said Costello and Zavadil were westbound on the bridge when the car jumped the concrete bumper, slid back across the eastbound lane, jumped that bumper and went sideways over the concrete guardrail, landing upside down in the water.
Zavadil was a star wrestler and football player in high school, according to Asher, and he kept his ties with his school after he graduated.

"He was just here last Monday night for our wrestling banquet," Asher said.
Zavadil ranked fourth last year in state Class 2A at 152 pounds. Since graduation, he had attended Sarasota Technical Institute seeking certification in fire rescue. His father is a retired Manatee County paramedic.

"It is very difficult when it happens to someone so young," Asher said. "He had so much life in front of him and our hearts go out to his parents."

Victor Mattay, owner of Dips Ice Cream Shop, in Anna Maria, said Zavadil was a friend of his son, Joey, and came into his shop about once a month.

"He was a very well-mannered and outgoing young man," said Mattay. "He was a dedicated athlete."

There will be a visitation on Thursday, April 13, from 6-8 p.m. at Griffith-Cline Funeral Home, 6000 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach. A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, April 14, at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 3011 19th Ave. W., Bradenton, with Rev. Daniel Hagmeier officiating. Burial will be at Palma Sola Community Cemetery.

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