Vigil held for Oakleaf student killed in a car crash

Community members paid their respects at Keondre Moss' memorial

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – The Oakleaf community in Clay County came together twice to remember Keondre Moss, an Oakleaf High School junior who died in a car crash this week.

Moss, 16, died and two other Oakleaf High students were hospitalized after the car they were in struck a tree in the median of Oakleaf Village Parkway -- about 2 miles away from the school -- Monday afternoon, Jacksonville police said.

In addition to Friday night's moment of silence, a vigil was held to remember Moss at the site of the car crash at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.

People brought purple balloons, which was his favorite color, and also a Chiefs flag to tie around the tree.

"They were so funny all the time," said Stephanie Elder, Taj Richey's mother. "They would prank jokes on us all of the time, so they were amazing kids, and I just didn't realize how much (love) people have. His friends have love for him at school. But they were awesome, they were awesome together."

Taj Richey was also injured in the crash. Elder told News4JAX how her son reacted when he found out his friend had died.

"For me to tell him that his friend passed, that was the most hurtful feeling," she said. "I know I keep talking about it, but I've never seen my son cry like that for his friend before. Never. My son never even showed a lot of emotions and when his friend died, it just hurt him so, so bad and he felt like it was his fault. I keep telling him, 'Taj, it's not your fault.'"

She also shared a message for teen drivers.

"Slow down, slow down. Cars are not toys. They cost lives if you don't use them the correct way," Elder said.

Signs of Moss' life, like his favorite football team, surrounded the site of the crash. 

His sister remembers her little brother for his smile and always making people laugh. 

"He just was well loved and mannerable," said Kiana Williams, Moss' sister. "You know, if we would go anywhere, he'd be looking out the door for us and just amazing. Amazing little brother to have and an uncle to my daughter."

The two women, as well as the mother of Brian Ransom, who was the third student in the crash, remained at the memorial for about an hour this morning. 

Richey's left leg had to be amputated. 

His mom says he had another major surgery this morning on his right leg, which was able to be saved. 

Elder wants her son to use his story for something positive. 

"I said, 'I know our lives have been changed forever.' I said, 'But you're a miracle walking, and you're going to be able to talk to other people and make them strong, as well"

Witnesses said the boys were speeding and possibly racing two other cars at the time of the crash.

About the Authors: