Jacksonville girl killed when van crashes into her bedroom

Charges pending against driver; Wolfson remembers 17-year-old

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A 17-year-old girl died early Tuesday morning after a minivan left a Southside road and crashed into the bedroom of a home where she was sleeping.

Police identified the girl as JaNay Jackson (pictured below).

The driver of the van, an adult man, was injured and hospitalized at Shands Jacksonville Medical Center. Channel 4 was told the man, whose name has not been released, was treated and released and that charges are pending.

IMAGES:  Van slams into house

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said the van was going north on Barnes Road about 2:40 a.m. when it left the road and slammed into the home in the 5500 block of Kennerly Road.

Detectives said it doesn't appear the driver attempted to stop at the stop sign and failed to turn. Police are investigating to see if speed or alcohol played a factor in the crash.

Jackson's father she had just started her senior year at Wolfson High School.

He said their family has lived in the house for 26 years and even put in barricade walls with reinforcing bar and cinder blocks to prevent this kind of crash from happening. Jackson's father said that many times through the years, cars have run that stop sign and ended up in their yard.

Jackson's family said the driver of the van said nothing to them after the crash and just seemed to be "out of it."

Neighbors said there has been a problem with cars speeding in the neighborhood.

"Very, very fast for everybody," neighbor Edward Fregat said. "I need to call before the police put some bumps, because teenagers, too many teenagers coming in school and coming fast. Every day, every day they're coming fast in the morning."

Meanwhile, the marquee at Wolfson on Tuesday read, "JaNay Jackson you will live on in our hearts."

It was clear from those at the school that Jackson made her mark there in many ways.

"I was like, 'Wow, I just saw her. I was sitting next to her yesterday,'" said Tyrah Walker, senior class president and a friend of Jackson's, of her death. "I used to come there all the time for tutoring, like, 'JaNay, help me out with this problem,' but she was always there. She'd give you the coat off her back."

Walker said not only was Jackson kind and helpful, she was also smart. As a senior at Wolfson, she'd only gotten two Bs in her entire high school career. She had a 4.4 weighted GPA and was ranked third in her class.

"She was the dream student, but she was modest and sincere, and she was a real person," said Sheri Porubski, coordinator of Wolfson's college prep program. "She wasn't someone who was conceited about being so gifted."

Teachers said there was more to Jackson than books. She played the saxophone and was drum major in the band.

When she graduated, she wanted to go to the University of North Florida and study nursing, and her teachers said she was determined to get there.

"She was a very good student," teacher Elizabeth Sundstrom said. "She followed the rules, she did her work, she was very concentrated on her work and very focused on what she wanted to do."

Even though she's gone, Jackson's passion for life and determination to achieve her goals is something that will always stay with her classmates and teachers.

"I know she -- her legacy continues," Walker said. "She will want us to continue on with our education and just be positive and think of the bright side rather than the sad moment."

The school is planning a memorial or a vigil to honor Jackson.

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