Two FSU students killed in Florida Turnpike crash

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By: Erin Lisch
March 22, 2017

Valentina Martinez and Antonio Mesa.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Florida State University students are in mourning after losing two classmates in a deadly crash over the weekend.

FSU students are back from spring break and some say when driving on major roadways during their travels, they grip the wheel a little tighter.

Florida State student Zoda Carrey said, "There's always major accidents that go on, so those are the times I try to be most cautious."

With many students traveling back to Tallahassee on the Florida Turnpike on Sunday, we spoke to drivers who say they noticed that traffic seemed extremely congested.

Driving his route from South Florida, Nick Napoli said, "I've never seen anything to this magnitude at all."

On Sunday, the Turnpike northbound came to a halt after a seven-vehicle chain reaction crash.

Ten people hurt, FSU students Maria Cardenas and Aztli Jiminez seriously injured, and FSU’s Valentina Martinez and Antonio Mesa killed.

FSU Freshmen student Ashley Ambrose said, "You always kind of disassociate yourself with those incidents and accidents and it's just really sad to hear that stuff come close to home."

FSU student K.D. said, "It sucks for FSU, it sucks for Tallahassee. Because you know, we never want to lose a fellow Seminole."

Losing their classmates leaves some on campus searching for perspective.

"It actually makes you think about every decision you make because every time you get in the car it's a risk," said K.D.

"I usually put the car on cruise control and listen to some music, so realistically it knocks things into perspective a little bit," said Napoli.

"In a quick second something could happen, and that could be me," said Carrey.

A tragic situation, causing a stark reminder of how precious life is and what could happen when you get behind the wheel.

FSU's Dean of Students says thoughts and prayers go out to anyone affected by the tragedy and that counseling is being made available to students.

Florida Highway Patrol is still investigating this accident.

By: WCTV Eyewitness News
March 22, 2017

HOWEY IN THE HILLS, Fla. (WCTV) -- The two people killed in a seven-vehicle crash on the Florida Turnpike on Sunday were Florida State University students, the school confirmed Wednesday.

The Florida Highway Patrol reports that Valentina Martinez, 19, and Antonio Mesa, 19, were killed when their vehicle was struck from behind by a pickup truck.

An FSU official told WCTV Wednesday that Martinez and Mesa were both sophomores at the university.

Martinez and Mesa were both from Weston, Florida, a suburb of Ft. Lauderdale. Both were first-year students who were academically classified as sophomores and made the Fall 2016 Dean's list, according to FSU.

Maria Cardenas, 19, and Aztli Jimenez, 18, were both hospitalized with serious injuries in the crash. Both Cardenas and Jimenez are also from Weston and are FSU students

The university says counseling is available for students impacted by the incident.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone touched by this tragedy, especially our students, their families and friends," FSU Dean of Students Vicki Dobiyanski said. "The FSU Counseling Center is available for students impacted by this tragedy as well as the Dean of Students Department.”

Florida Highway Patrol originally reported that 17 were injured and four people were killed in the crash, but later lowered those figures to 10 injured and two killed.

The pickup truck driver suffered serious injuries in the crash, and several other drivers suffered minor injuries.

FHP says the crash remains under investigation.

HOWEY IN THE HILLS, Fla. (AP) -- Troopers say a seven-vehicle crash on Florida's Turnpike has left two people dead.

The Florida Highway Patrol identified the victims in Sunday evening's crash as a 20-year-old woman and a 19-year-old man who were traveling in the same vehicle. Authorities initially had said four people died in the crash northwest of Orlando near Howey in the Hills. They sent a news release later Monday correcting the number to two.

Trooper Steven Montiero says one of the victims died at the scene and the other died at the hospital. He said information is constantly being updated "due to the complexity of the scene."

Police have not released the victims' names or any other details of the crash.

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