Vigil honors life of UNF student who died in Philips Highway crash

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Family and friends on Monday night remembered the life of a University of North Florida student who died in a crash on Philips Highway.

She was identified as Megan Mooney, 22.

According to Collin Stephens, Mooney was a member of the Delta Gamma sorority at UNF. She worked at Surfer The Bar and was also a cashier at Publix.

“I saw her, I hugged her, told her I loved her. And that was the last time I ever saw her,” Stephens recalled.

The vigil was held on Jacksonville Beach. Loved ones lit candles, lanterns and fireworks.

“When she came around, it didn’t matter if she was happy, sad, mad -- always had a smile on her face,” said Ethan Denmark, who worked with Mooney. “Always was a positive portion of whatever we were doing. No matter what.”

Restaurants and other bars at the beaches are remembering Mooney by offering specials and raising money for her family. Others have put up signs, reading “rest in peace Megan” and “you will be missed.”

Sign at The Ritz in Jacksonville Beach.

“Everyone here is tight-knit,” said Melia Azzam, bartender at The Brix Taphouse. “Missing one person in that group is like not having the glue to hold everyone together.”

The crash happened Saturday around 3 a.m. at Gran Bay Parkway, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Troopers said a 60-year-old man was driving north on Philips when he hit two other cars that were turning left.

About the Author:

Renee Beninate is a Florida native and award-winning reporter who joined the News4Jax team in June 2021.