Family endures pain of losing teen in tragedy

17-year-old killed when van drove through bedroom

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Her life was taken in the night at a place that supposed to be safe.

That's what JaNay Jackson's family says makes losing her so difficult.

Nearly a week after a driver ran a stop sign and drove into the 17-year-old's bedroom, her family is speaking out, saying their faith is helping them move forward.

"This person took my baby," said Jerry Jackson, JaNay's father. "She was asleep. That's all she was trying to do, just trying to sleep."

There's sadness and anger when JaNay's family thinks about why she's not with them anymore, why her picture is in the living room and not her.

Early Tuesday morning, everything changed when JaNay's mother, Felicia, heard a crash and ran to her daughter's room.

"All I could see was from her head to her waist. Everything else was pinned," she said.

JaNay was pinned to a wall by a minivan.

Police said the man behind the wheel, Ismet Sijamhodzic (pictured below), had run a stop sign at the T-intersection of Barnes and Kennerly roads and driven into Jackson's room. The van stopped about 10 feet inside the bedroom, right in front of JaNay's door.


I was like, 'JaNay, JaNay, and she just said, 'Ahh, ahh,'" Felicia said. "And I said, 'JaNay, JaNay, it's mommy.' And she just said, 'Ahhh.'"

Felicia said she held her daughter's head and wiped debris off her body until firefighters could come cut her out of the wall.

That was the last time she saw her daughter alive.

JaNay's family said the last night they spent with her was just like any other.

"She looked over at me and she said, 'Dad, are you about to go to bed?'" Jerry said. "I said, 'Yeah.' And she said, 'Goodnight, Dad.' I said, 'Goodnight, baby.' She says, 'I love you.' I says, 'I love you.'"

"I went in as usual, gave her a big kiss and a hug, and she was telling me about her day at school, and then I kissed her, and that was it," Felicia said.

It's the small moments like that JaNay's brother, Talbert, says he will miss the most.

"Just looking over in the seat and not seeing her there, not being able to make a joke at her, tickle her, pinch her cheeks, just, miss my baby sis," he said.

In the midst of loss, the family's faith gives them hope and comfort.

"I know we worship and serve a loving God, and I know he's going to help us through this, and I know he's going to fulfill his promises of knowing that we're going to see her again," Jerry said.

A promise to ease the pain of a life cut short.

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