SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - An investigation continues after a deadly overnight crash killed three teens on the John Ringling Causeway Bridge.
As friends grieve, the family of 17-year-old Daniel Flores and his brother, 19-year-old Oscar Flores, are now coping with multiple deaths within the family.
“It hurts me so badly to think about this happening,” said KiKi Wells. Wells and her sister are visiting the makeshift memorial for a second time, placing flowers on the site and still reeling over the death of the brothers. She says the family has already gone through a horrible tragedy as the boys’ father died in a fire just three months ago.
“She just lost her husband and now to lose her two sons, it’s her only two sons, that’s her whole family right there,” said Wells.
Wells says she’s just praying for family members going through this tragedy. “He would do anything to make you know that he felt love for you, even if you didn’t feel it from everyone else. He would always be there no matter what, even if we got into an argument.”
Police are still investigating what happened, but say one of the teens was driving westbound over the causeway when the driver of the car lost control, striking the sidewall of the bridge and a tree before crashing on Bird Key.
Both brothers died in the crash, as did 15-year-old Isabella Paoletta, who was ejected from the vehicle.
“One of them was 15. They didn’t deserve that. They were great people and they were going to do great things and they passed away. It’s going to hurt us all deeply and we’re all going to remember them and love them,” said high school student James Crain.
Sebastion Ramirez knew Paoletta, saying, “Every time I see her around school, even in elementary school she was humble, she was a sweet loving, soft-hearted person.”
“Our traffic unit officers have been assigned to this crash and they are working it and they are working to determine if speed was a factor, if alcohol was a factor or if drugs were a factor,” said Genevieve Judge, Spokesperson for the Sarasota Police Department.
For one Sarasota High School student, although his friend is gone, he hopes this accident serves as a teachable moment for those mourning the deaths of kids who were so young. “I don’t want to see this happen to any other of my friends. Hopefully it shows a lot of the youth in Sarasota how serious driving is and that we all need to stay safe.”
Investigators are still working to find out if alcohol, speed or drugs were a factor. Anyone with any information, videos or photos related to this crash should call the Sarasota Police Department at 941-364-7370.