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Hundreds gather in Sarasota to mourn 3 teens killed in crash

Sarasota County
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – As the sun set on Bird Key in Sarasota Wednesday, hundreds gathered, standing side by side, shoulder to shoulder as they wept, still in shock over the sudden loss of three of their own.

It just didn’t seem possible. Three lives of three teenagers were gone in an instant.

The teens died early Wednesday morning after a crash on the John Ringling Causeway, Sarasota Police Department officials said. The crash happened in the area of Bird Key shortly after midnight.

‘This is nothing nobody should have to go through. I just pray for everybody going through this right now,” said Lindsey Padula, a family friend.

Loved ones of the three victims were, indeed, filled with heartache as they leaned on one another Wednesday night to mourn, to love and remember the young lives lost in an instant in the fiery crash.. 

“I’m shattered, I’m shattered, and I’m in disbelief about it all,” Lindsey cried. “I just hope this is an eye-opener to people.”

According to police, a 4-door sedan carrying Oscar Flores, 19, Daniel Flores, 17, and Isabella Paoletta, 15, was traveling westbound over the bridge before the driver of the sedan lost control and crashed, killing all three passengers. 

Even more heartbreaking was the fact that Oscar and Daniel Flores were siblings. Their mother was weeping as she approached the large crowd Wednesday night at Bird Key Park. 

She fell to her knees and grasped a cross, calling her sons’ names.

“Walking up here and just watching all his family, just break down, It’s an eye-opener, in a split-second, your life can be gone.” said Catelyn Padula, another friend of the Flores family.

Sadly, their family has already gone through unspeakable grief as the boys’ father died in a fire just three months ago. 

“This is awful and no one should ever have to go through this at all,” Lindsey told News Channel 8.

Police said it’s unknown which person was the driver. 

“All three of them passed last night.  They were always so happy,” friend Chris McCalla said.

There was a steady stream of friends and family members who stopped by the scene to leave flowers and stuffed animals.

“They never did anything to hurt anybody.  Great people.  They didn’t deserve this at all!  It’s just insane,” friend James Crain told 8 On Your Side.

It’s unclear if speed, alcohol or drugs were a factor in the crash.  The bridge was closed for several hours, but later reopened.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation. Anyone with any information is asked to call 941-364-7370.

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

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