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Lakeland teen dies, 4 injured during I-4 crash

Polk County

Credit: Shandra Burkhardt

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Family and friends of Stephanie Carroll are shocked after learning the 18-year-old died following a car crash Saturday night. She graduated from Lake Gibson High School in May and was ready to go to college and live a full life.

She was one of the first friend’s Tearyn Olson made when she moved here seven years ago.

“She was amazing. She’s so goofy. She was always making everybody laugh. She was amazing,” Olson said.

Stephanie was on her way back from the aquarium Saturday night with friends ranging in age from 16 to 19. Her boyfriend, the driver of a F350 truck, lost control on I-4 near I-75 heading east.

“I have no words. I can’t even process what happened,” Olson said.

The truck hit a center guardrail, flipped and landed on the opposite side of I-4. The driver was taken to Tampa General Hospital with serious injuries. Three other teens were hurt but are expected to be okay. Stephanie was taken to Tampa General Hospital, where she later died.

“You don’t expect it to happen to anyone. Especially not someone like her,” she said.

Her family is heartbroken, her friends are devastated. They remember her as a smart, funny and loyal friend.

Friends have set up a GoFundMe page to help her family with funeral expenses.


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