A Florida neighborhood is grieving the loss of five teenagers discovered in a submerged automobile after a collision.
According to a statement from the Fort Myers Police Department, the five teenagers were engaged in a “single vehicle traffic crash” along Top Golf Way in Fort Myers late Sunday night, which led to their automobile getting buried in a retention pond.
According to FMPD spokesman Kristen Capuzzi, the youths seemed to lose control of a black Kia vehicle before driving into the retention pond. At the site, all five victims were declared dead.
Officials from the FMPD arrived to the area shortly after 4 a.m. local time on Monday after discovering that the victims’ parents had alerted police that their kids had not returned home from work at a Texas Roadhouse approximately a half mile away.
Eric Paul, 19, Jackson Eyre, 18, Amanda Ferguson, 18, Breanna Coleman, 18, and Jesus Salinas, 18, have been named as the victims by the FMPD.
They feel deeply devastated by the tragic loss of life, the agency stated again Tuesday morning.
Four of the youngsters—Eric, Jackson, Amanda, and Breanna—worked at the Texas Roadhouse on Dani Drive.
Alan Hansen, market partner for nine Texas Roadhouses in Florida, told the publication that all four teenagers worked on Sunday. He said that two of them finished early and returned to pick up the others so they could have quick food.
They were the leaders in their restaurant, Hansen said. They understood how to be great examples.
In a Facebook post, Texas Roadhouse expressed its sympathies to the victims’ families. They are heartbroken over the tragic loss of four of their Roadies. Their team is in mourning with their families and friends, the business added.
The restaurant acted as “a place of comfort for many” of the victims. On Monday, the company’s flags were flown at half-staff, and each of the youngsters’ images were put on a memorial outside.
We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of four of our Roadies. Our team is grieving alongside their families and…Posted by Texas Roadhouse on Monday, 26 June 2023
They just wanted to acknowledge their lives and the good that they’ve done in their society and in their group here at Texas Roadhouse, Hansen said.
The four teenagers were recent high school graduates. Paul, Eyre, Coleman, and Ferguson graduated from East Lee County High School, South Fort Myers High School, Gateway High School, and Lehigh Senior High School, respectively.
Coleman’s cousin, Victor Ayala, told him that Breanna had graduated from high school the week before. She was very smart, too, and she was very happy that she was going to college, Ayala added.
Lylah, a victim’s companion, told Jackson that she would sit with him during lunch. He was so funny, and Amanda was too, she remembered.
She was so witty and bubbly, she made the whole place light up, Lylah continued.
The crash is still being investigated. FMPD investigator Kyle Martin said that the investigation is still in its “infancy.”
Meanwhile, many who knew the victims are still grieving. They’re allowing themselves to mourn and move forward, Hansen stated.
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