Classmates Mourn Death of High School Senior

A local high school mourns the tragic death of a classmate, the Lincoln High School senior killed in a car crash just days before graduating.

More difficult than starting Tuesday morning with a 7:30 final exam, Lincoln High School students were told of the death of classmate Cherita Smith.

They placed flowers in the front of the school and gathered in her memory.

Fantasia Hall, Cherita Smith's cousin, said, "We stayed under the same roof; we shared the same shoes, clothes, slept in the same bed, shared the same laughter and hurt. To see her go hurts even worse just to see her go. I really don't have, I can't say much but why?"

Fantasia found out about her cousin's death Monday evening.

Leon County sheriff's investigators said Cherita was riding with a 17-year-old down Capitola Road when the car veered, slammed into a tree, and landed in a ditch.

Grief counselors are working with her classmates.

Principal Martha Bunch said, "They need to have some guidance in how to work through that. They sit down and talk together. One of the important things in a situation like this is to remember the wonderful life that Cherita lived, and they have been doing that this morning."

Some of Cherita's friends chose to visit the accident site where they say they were hoping to find closure.

Vontrell Footman, a friend of Cherita, said, "It's more relieving when you actually come out here and spend a few moments and remember the times that Cherita had in her life and the time that you been around her. It's just hard."

Fantasia added, "I know she's smiling at me right now talking about it. It brings tears to my eyes to know I'll never see her again."

Cherita's cousin and friends say she was a nice, happy person and wanted everyone to be the same.