SPRING HILL, Fla. (WFLA) — A 17-year-old who troopers say died Sunday after stepping on a downed power line while trying to escape her burning car has been identified as a high school senior who was set to graduate in June.
With permission from family members, Hernando County School officials identified the teenager Monday as Valentina Tomashosky. A district spokesperson called her death a “shattering loss.”
Tomashosky, who also went by “Val,” was a senior at Central High School in Brooksville. She was set to graduate in June and attend Pasco-Hernando State College in the fall, district officials said.
Tomashosky was a cadet lieutenant in the Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps at her school. The district spokesperson said she had been in ROTC all four years of high school and “was an outstanding student overall.”
Commander Christian Cruz from Central High’s NJROTC released a statement to WFLA Monday afternoon calling Tomashosky a leader and someone who was admired.
“Val was not only an outstanding student but was a respected leader of our unit and was part of our Unarmed Exhibition team. To the cadets of Delta Company, she was a mentor and a friend,” the statement said. “Valentina was admired for her dedication to the unit but she was loved most for her joyful spirit and her ever-present smile. Her loss is deeply felt and she will be missed.”
Florida Highway Patrol troopers said the tragic incident happened around 12:15 p.m. Sunday on Evenglow Avenue near Hyacinth Lane in Spring Hill.
Troopers say Tomashosky’s car caught fire on the driver’s side after colliding with a powerline that had been downed by a fallen tree when strong storms moved through the area Sunday.
“I think that most likely led to a panic on her part, which it would with anybody, and she probably had no concept or clue what was waiting for her on the other side of that door when she got out,” said Sgt. Steve Gaskins with Florida Highway Patrol.
As she was getting out of the car, troopers say she stepped on the downed and active powerline and was electrocuted.
Tomashosky was pronounced dead at the scene. District officials said details of a service or memorial for her have not been finalized yet, but a scholarship has been set up in her name.