Family and friends of a 14-year-old girl killed last week held an emotional candelight vigil to remember her Sunday night.
Jordan Sommise died when she was thrown from the pickup truck she was riding in last Saturday night in Baker County. Another teen in that car is paralyzed and remains in the hospital. The driver was not badly injured.
A week and a day after the tragic crash, the community gathered to honor Sommise at a park in MacClenny.
Jordan’s dad said the park’s peaceful duck pond was her favorite. That’s why her friends decided to make it the spot where they would say goodbye to a girl who touched many lives.
Friends told Channel 4 that if anyone could make someone smile, it was Jordan. The teenager had a gift of gab and a love for God, they said.
"She was one of my best friends. She helped me through a lot. It's devastating to know she's gone, but she'll always be in my heart,” said Meagan Highsmith, Jordan’s friend.
The family held a viewing and a funeral for Jordan in recent days, but this vigil was organized entirely by her friends as a way for the high school students to pay tribute in their special way.
"I've never seen anything like it. Everybody's just gotten together and pulled together like I’ve never seen before. She's brought us together,” said Peyton Keefer, a friend of the late teenager
Jordan’s friends said she loved the country, the Gators and trucks. But more than that, she loved people. Friends said she extended a helping hand to anyone who needed it.
"She always had a smile on her face. And hopefully this puts a smile on everybody else's face, just like she always had on hers," said Chase Wright.
With candles lit, heavy hearts and pictures of Jordan on a big screen, family and friends remembered the good times and fought back tears. They said they know she’s smiling down on them from above.
"Don't want her to be forgotten. I know everybody's going to start going to their day to day lives, getting back to the norm. Just want everybody to remember what kind of girl she was. And we love her and miss her and will see her again,” said Adam Kilpatrick, Jordan’s brother-in-law.
Jordan's family members told Channel 4 they appreciate all the love and support this tight-knit community has given them. Jordan's dad, Duane Sommise, said he's not mad at the driver behind the wheel that terrible night, but he hopes this serves as a lesson to drivers to be careful and slow down.