Two Polk County high school students died on their way to a graduation ceremony on Thursday night in Plant City.
Edilberto Nava-Marcos, 18, was identified as the driver of the 2002 Toyota Corolla with 18-year-old Pepe Salgado and 15-year-old Frinzi Salgado-Diaz as passengers.
The vehicle was traveling westbound on Trapnell Road when the car entered the middle of the intersection when the traffic light was red. The Corolla was hit by an oncoming vehicle causing it to rotate, hitting a third car.
Salgado-Diaz was reported dead on scene, Salgado was later pronounced dead at the hospital, Nava-Marcos is currently in the hospital in critical condition.
Salgrado-Diaz and Salgado were brother and sister.
The drivers and passengers in the two other vehicles survived with minor injuries.
Salgado-Diaz was a 9th grader at Mulberry High School. Salgado was a student at New Beginnings High School and was a former Mulberry Middle and High School student.
The three were headed to Nava-Marcos graduation ceremony at Mulberry High School when the crash occurred.
Michael Young, the Principal of Mulberry High School released the following statement:
“This is a very sad day for our school and community. We are mourning the loss of Frinzi and Pepe, and are praying for Edilberto as he remains in the hospital. Our hearts go out to their families.
Frinzi was a friend to everyone at Mulberry High. She had a great smile, a positive attitude, and worked well with her classmates. She also loved her agriculture class and enjoyed working with animals.
Pepe was a former student at Mulberry Middle and Mulberry High. We knew him as a talented athlete with a passion for soccer. He loved his family deeply. Pepe was outgoing and had a great sense of humor. He also was a focused young man who was determined to better himself.
‘Eddie’ is well-liked by his peers and has a wonderful, bright smile. He is respectful of everyone, and his teachers say he is a hardworking student who is very diligent in his studies. He also loves soccer and played for Mulberry High this year.”
Superintendent Jacqueline M. Byrd added a statement saying, “We are deeply saddened. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the students’ families. With this happening so suddenly, I want to respect the privacy of the families while they deal with this tragic incident.”
Crisis counselors are currently available for students at Mulberry High.