A Saturday morning crash led to the deaths of two teenagers after an impaired underage driver hit another vehicle then crashed into two trees.
Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) responded to the accident scene near milepost 24 of I-275 on Saturday, February 8. They say a Toyota Camry driven by 18-year-old Erinasha Jones was attempting to change lanes when it crashed into a Chevrolet Silverado driven by 38-year-old Ernesto Leon. The Camry spun across the interstate, went off the road, and crashed into two trees. Leon and a passenger in the Silverado were unhurt.
Jones and two passengers, Jiana Minaya, 16, and Keeoshia Edwards, 17, were taken to a local hospital. Sadly, Minaya and Edwards were later pronounced dead. Jones is in her serious condition. FHP troopers say she was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash.
Edwards, whose family includes thirteen siblings, was a student at Lakewood High School. The school says grief counselors are available for students struggling to deal with the sudden loss.
“The young lady that was driving, there’s not bitterness in our heart against her,” said Edwards’ grandfather, Robert Benjamin. “This driving and drinking at that age and texting on the phone and stuff, we’re having a lot of tragic accidents with those people.”
Because drinking and driving is a serious risk for teenagers, under Florida law, providing alcohol to anyone under the age of 21 is illegal. In some situations, people may be liable for alcohol-related crashes if they knowingly provided alcohol to a minor, or were aware of alcohol being served to minors on their property and didn’t act to stop it.