Local families are now planning funerals for four young people from Jacksonville that were killed in a car crash over the weekend.
One of the victims, 19-year-old Isabella Garcia, was studying nursing at USF.
“[The trooper] basically just said, ‘I’m sorry but your baby didn’t make it,” said her father, Robert Garcia. “[They were] the worst words you could ever imagine.”
The Florida Highway Patrol said a fifth person inside the car survived. Blake Delapaz, 20, is hospitalized in critical condition.
The victims were between 18 and 21 years old.
State troopers are working to learn who was driving and what caused the crash in Gilchrist County Saturday night.
Garcia’s mother said the last thing she said to them was "I love you."
“A few days before her passing, she went down to the beach. She said, ‘Mom, I’m going to go watch the sunrise.' That’s what makes my soul happy,” said her mother, Trisha Garcia.
Four of the people involved, including Garcia, once went to Sandalwood High School.
The school's wrestling coach, Casey Gibson, once coached Delapaz, Cameron Bell, and Hayden Raulerson.
Troopers said Bell and Raulerson died on the scene of the crash, while Delapaz remains in critical condition. Troopers said Garcia and Alysia Littlejohn, 20, were also pronounced dead at the scene.
“You tell the kids to be strong, but you’re trying to deal with it yourself,” Gibson said.
Troopers said the group of young people left Bob’s River Place in Branford, Fla. and only made it a few miles down County Road 340. Their Impala collided with a SUV in the intersection of U.S. 129.
They were more than 90 miles from their families and friends in Jacksonville.
The Florida Highway Patrol said due to the extent and complexity of the scene, they may not have a conclusion for more than 90 days.
“It’s very sad, very sad,” Robert Garcia said. “It’s the hardest thing for a dad to get told that your daughter is gone.”
Troopers said none of the four victims had their seatbelts on. Isabella’s parents said that’s not like her, but they want it to be a lesson to drivers.
“For anybody driving, just buckle up,” Robert Garcia said.
Isabella Garcia will be laid to rest Thursday, June 14 at 11 a.m. at Palms Presbyterian Church in Jacksonville Beach.
Cox Media Group