Woman, 22, killed after SUV strikes tree, splits in half

Author: Chris Parenteau, General assignment reporter, cparenteau@wjxt.com
Christopher Yazbec, News editor, News4Jax.com, cyazbec@wjxt.com
Published On: Jan 17 2014 08:40:53 AM EST   Updated On: Jan 17 2014 08:08:13 PM EST
Natalie Starratt
ST JOHNS COUNTY, Fla -

A 22-year-old woman was killed Friday morning after her SUV struck a tree, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies were called to the crash near the intersection of County Road 208 and Joe Ashton Road about 6:50 a.m. and found the SUV split in half.

Natalie Starratt (pictured below) was the only person in the car, deputies said.

"It's a pretty horrific scene for a single-vehicle accident," Cmdr. Brian Lee said.

Deputies said Starratt was driving southbound on Joe Ashton Road when the SUV left the road after traveling through a curve and struck the tree.

They said the crash likely happened hours before it was discovered, and they don't believe anyone else saw the crash happen.

Natalie Starratt

The road was closed after the crash while deputies investigated.

"It will be several weeks before we have any further information about what actually occurred and the factors that caused the crash," Sgt. Catherine Payne said. "But on the scene we were able to determine that speed was definitely a factor."

For Starratt's friends and those who live around the road where she died, it's another reminder of just how precious life is and how quickly it can be taken away.

"You don't have much shoulder," resident Alvez Barkoskie Jr. said. "If you take your eyes off the road for a minute it's where you'll be."

Starratt grew up in St. Johns County. Her grandfather retired from the Sheriffs Office and she went to high school there.

"The nicest thing you could possibly think, never mean, always sweet and polite," Stefan Schuler, a close friend, said of Starratt. "She was absolutely the give-her-shirt-off-your-back girl. Real nice young girl."

Friends say it's another young life taken away too soon. Starratt, according to her online profiles, was in school at St. Johns River State College learning about medical devices. She worked with kids at a St. Augustine day care.

Those who knew her say she loved children, the beach and Chick-fil-A.

"Energetic, great, nice, never a bad time with her," Schuler said. "She's always at Chick-fil-A. Good God, she lives at that place."

A worker at the day care where Starratt worked said it's been a difficult day for them, but they want everyone to know that Starratt was an incredibly sweet person.