Teen killed in St. Pete I-275 crash leaves behind 1-year-old, lasting friendships

Pinellas County

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – More information is coming in to 8 On Your Side about one of the teens killed in a Pinellas County crash on Interstate 275 over the weekend and the impact she made before passing.

Sixteen-year-old Jiana Minaya’s friends and family describe her as smart, goofy, loving and kind. They say she tried to act tough, but when it came down to it was a sweet and sensitive teenager. She was a loved friend, girlfriend, daughter, and mother. Her daughter turns 1 on Thursday.

Jiana was an online high school student. Her family said she just started hanging out with the other girls in the car at the time of the crash and they weren’t even that close of friends.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the crash happened on I-275 near 22nd avenue north just after 6 a.m. Saturday. The 18-year-old driver attempted to change lanes and entered the path of another car. Troopers say they do believe alcohol was involved.

The driver of the crash, Erinasha Jones, remains in critical condition. Jiana Minaya and Keeoshia Edwards, 17, were passengers in Jones’ vehicle and were taken to Bayfront Hospital where they later died from their injuries.

“She was always the light of the party,” said Jiana’s childhood best friend, Alexis Robertson.

Robertson and Minaya became instant friends and were inseparable since third grade.

“Such a great mom,” Robertson added. “She had so much potential. I was waiting to see where life was going to bring her and her daughter.”

Matthew Miller, Jiana’s 16-year-old boyfriend, said he’s not the biological father but has always treated the child as his own. He says he will continue to raise her in Jiana’s memory. Miller has known Jiana for three years but said their love recently bloomed and then planned to get married and have a child when they turned 18 years old.

To help Jiana’s loved ones with the expense of laying her to rest, click here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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