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Family mourns loss of young man killed in JTB crash

FHP: Ricardo Baez, 20, died after crashing into barrier off JTB

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A family is mourning the loss of a 20-year-old man who died Sunday evening after crashing into a concrete barrier on Jacksonville's Southside.

Ricardo Baez was entering eastbound J. Turner Butler Boulevard from the northbound Southside Boulevard on-ramp shortly before 7 p.m. when he hit the barrier, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

Baez died at the scene. Troopers said he was not wearing a seat belt.

Baez's family told News4Jax that his cellphone was broken, so they don't know where he was heading when he crashed. Family members said his girlfriend showed up at the house to check on him because she couldn't get hold of him on his cellphone, and they told her the news. 

"He has already given a lot to our world. He was a positive influence, so it's just another good young person just gone too soon from us," said Sarah Baez, his sister-in-law.

Baez, who was the youngest of four brothers, had everything going for him, Sarah said.

"He's just lighting up the room, like, he's just so goofy," Sarah said. "I don't know -- it's just hard to put it into words, like, what we lost, really"

Sarah said she had known Baez since he was 7 years old and felt like he was her own brother. She struggled to find the words to explain the sense of loss their family is feeling. 

"He was a really good person. He was doing everything he was supposed to be doing. He worked hard. He was responsible. He loved his family. He loved his nieces and nephews a lot," she said. "(It's) just, like, an overwhelming sense of loss for all of the potential that he had, and the loss of a good person legitimately is overwhelming."

As the family came together at the home of Baez's parents Monday evening, Sarah said she plans to memorialize him the best way she knows how. 

"Keeping his happy spirit alive, definitely keeping our family tight and strong like we are right now," Sarah said.

The family has set up a GoFundMe account to help with funeral expenses. Click here to donate.