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Remembering Blake Bennett: FSU student killed in hit and run crash Tuesday night

Published: Nov. 20, 2020 at 3:59 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - 22-year-old Florida State University student Blake Bennett was killed Tuesday night on West Pensacola Street while on his scooter; the driver drove away from the scene but, on Thursday, Tallahassee Police made an arrest in the case.

Bennett’s friends and professor tell WCTV they are in a state of shock; they say Bennett was a special person, whose life was ended far too soon.

“Blake was a really special person. Bigger than life,” said Justin Williams.

Justin Williams and Blake Bennett were freshman year roommates at FSU.

“We clicked instantly,” said Williams.

They bonded over their love of jazz music, and Williams says Bennett taught him to play basketball for their intramural team.

“Long nights, early mornings, homework when we didn’t want do, practicing things we didn’t want to practice,” he said.

Williams says Bennett was generous, and they took many trips together, including to New York City to see famous musicians.

“Blake not only pushed himself to be better, but he pushed every single, every single person and musician around him to be better,” said Williams.

FSU Professor Scotty Barnhart worked with Bennett on the trumpet for almost five years.

“The funniest, and most fun parts of our lessons working with him, to see his level of shyness just keep going down, and down. Pretty soon he was comfortable,” said Barnhart.

Barnhart says in five years, Bennett went from a beginner to a professional.

“The true test of a good jazz musician is when everybody else wants to play with you. And that was Blake,” he said.

Barnhart says Bennett had completed his jazz studies and was working on psychology classes; he says Bennett was interested in the way music and psychology connect.

He says he would have recommended Bennett for any job.

“His grandfather and his parents that I’ve met were obviously proud of him, and they raised him well. I mean everybody loved Blake.”

Bennett was killed in a hit and run; Williams had a message for that driver.

“Be responsible. Take responsibility for your actions.”

He says he believes fatal crashes in Tallahassee are becoming a trend.

“Blake is gone, but a piece of Blake is gone from all of us,” said Williams.

Barnhart says he doesn’t have children; if he did, he’d want them to be like Blake Bennett.

He says he’ll most remember the way Bennett made others feel.

“That’s all you can do, to bring joy into other people’s lives, and to leave the world a better place than when you got here. And that’s what he’s done.”

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