Community Mourns Five Teens Who Died In Horrific Manner

In Southwest Florida, a tragic car accident claimed the lives of five teenagers, who were found dead in a submerged vehicle in a retention pond in Fort Myers. The incident took place sometime between 10:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 25, and the early hours of Monday, June 26, 2023. The car, a Kia sedan, appears to have lost control and crashed into the pond near a Topgolf facility. The police found the submerged car on Monday and confirmed that all five occupants were dead at the scene. According to the Florida Department of Transportation, this incident marks the highest number of fatalities in a traffic accident in Southwest Florida since March 2011. Investigators believe that speed played a role in the crash.

The victims were identified as Eric Paul (19), Jackson Eyre (18), Amanda Ferguson (18), Breanna Coleman (18), and Jesus Salinas (18). Eric Paul, Jackson Eyre, Breanna Coleman, and Jesus Salinas had recently graduated from high school. Amanda Ferguson had graduated the previous year and was attending college. Four of the victims, Coleman, Paul, Eyre, and Ferguson, were coworkers at a nearby Texas Roadhouse restaurant and had just finished their shift. Jesus Salinas, Breanna Coleman’s boyfriend, was with them at the time of the crash.

In response to the tragedy, Texas Roadhouse offered condolences and closed its doors on Monday to host a dinner in memory of the victims. Lylah Law, a former Texas Roadhouse employee, spoke about the close bond between the young workers at the restaurant.

The community has mourned the loss of these young lives. Tributes have poured in as family, friends, and community members visited the crash site and the Texas Roadhouse, leaving flowers, lighting candles, and erecting crosses. A balloon release and memorial were also planned.

Breanna Coleman, a Gateway High School graduate, was set to attend the University of North Florida and aspired to become a nurse. Her friend Thalia DeLeon described her as a positive and intelligent person.

Eric Paul had recently graduated from East Lee County High School and was attending a firefighting academy program with plans to become a firefighter/EMT. His father, Andrew Cox, spoke about the bond they shared and how Paul’s passing left a void in their lives.

Jackson Eyre, a graduate of South Fort Myers High, was known for his positivity and leadership. He had plans to become a welder and was enrolled in Fort Myers Technical College.

Amanda Ferguson, who attended Florida SouthWestern State College and worked at Texas Roadhouse, was remembered by friends as kind, loving, and a source of brightness in their lives.

Jesus Salinas was also a recent high school graduate and was close friends with the other victims. He was planning to attend a trade school in Texas.

The Fort Myers Police Department is conducting an investigation into the accident, and a spokesperson, Kristin Capuzzi, stated that toxicology reports could take weeks or months.