Families of teens in deadly crash pay tribute to life lost

Oakleaf teenager Keondre Moss remembered in roadside vigil

OAKLEAF, Fla. – Friends and family members remembered Keondre Moss in an emotional roadside tribute.

A vigil was held Saturday morning at the site where the Oakleaf High School junior died in a car crash this week. Deputies say Moss was in a car with two friends, Taj Richey and Brian Ransom, at the time of the deadly wreck.

Family members of all three boys gathered at a makeshift memorial for Moss that keeps growing. They brought more purple balloons, which was his favorite color, and also a Chiefs flag to tie around the tree.


Hearts are heavy as the families of the boys lean on each other for support. Moss's sister and Richey's  mother describe the pair as inseparable.

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

She said having to tell her son, who's undergone multiple major surgeries, that his best friend was dead was the hardest part.

"For me to tell him that his friend passed, that was the most hurtful feeling. 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 it's not his fault," Elder said.

Signs of Moss's life, including his favorite football team, surround 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 if we would go anywhere, he'd be looking out the door for us and (he was) just amazing. (An) amazing little brother to have, and an uncle to my daughter," said Moss's sister, Kiana Williams.

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

Elder said she wants to use her son's 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,'" Elder said.

Taj Richey's left leg had to be amputated.

His mom said he had another major surgery Saturday morning on his right leg which was able to be saved. 

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

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said information about the crash and even who owned the car were not being released because it is under criminal investigation.


About the Authors: