Teen dies in crash in stolen vehicle

3 other teens in car hospitalized; Victim's mother says driver jumped out of car

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Melvin Woodard

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A 16-year-old was killed in a crash early Saturday morning in Northwest Jacksonville while riding with three other teens in a vehicle that was reported stolen.

Police said Melvin Woodard was a passenger in the rear left seat. Woodard's mother said her son didn't know the car was stolen, and she said the driver jumped out of the vehicle while it was still moving.

Police said the vehicle was heading south on Moncrief Road near the intersection of Edgewood Avenue about 5:30 a.m. and failed to negotiate a curve. It crossed multiple lanes of traffic and struck a wooden light pole.

Woodard died at the scene.

The driver and two other occupants were taken to the hospital in non-life-threatening condition. One remained hospitalized Monday.

Police said their investigation is ongoing. They have not said whether the driver will face charges, but Woodard's mother, Annette Hurst, thinks he should.

"They were like, 'Slow down. Stop. Take us home.' And he told them that he wasn't taking them home; they weren't going home tonight," Hurst said.

Hurst said her son wanted out of the speeding car, according to one of the surviving teens. She said the driver warned the others what he was about to do.

"The boy said that they were going to turn up, and the teens thought he meant turn up the music, but he ended up driving at a high speed, riding fast," Hurst said. "He let it go and then he jumped out, and the boys were screaming and yelling. And he said my son slumped over on him."

Hurst said her son was in summer school at Ribault High school, where some of his friends Monday found out about his death.

"That was a person I grew up with," said Eriq Etoshay. "We played football together, chilled, played basketball together. It's just messed up."

Hurst said the driver left the scene of the accident but was later found by police. She said she won't rest until someone is held responsible for her son's death.

"I just love him and miss him, and I know he's looking down on us," Hurst said.

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