JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The mother of a 16-year-old boy killed Monday afternoon when the car he was in struck a tree on Oakleaf Village Parkway has a message for other teens.
"Make wise choices. Stop driving so fast. Put your seat belt on," said Katina Moss.
Keondre Moss was a junior at Oakleaf High School, where students were in mourning Tuesday.
Jacksonville police said Keondre was one of three Oakleaf students in the car that slammed into a tree in the median of the road Monday afternoon. Witnesses said the boys were speeding and possibly racing two other vehicles at the time.
As Keondre's mother grieves the sudden loss of her only son, she is urging other teens across the community to make good choices and look out for one another.
"We love you so much," she said. "You don't realize how much of an impact ... It doesn't just affect one person; it affects many people," Moss said.
Part of a tree, car debris and a growing memorial is all that's left behind at the crash site. Students came by after school Tuesday, paying their respects. Many of them wore red in honor of Keondre.
"I saw that car and I was just like, whoa," Moss said.
The grieving mother said she didn't know anything about the teens possibly racing. She said her son loved his school, friends and family.
Keondre even acted as a father figure to his 3-year-old niece, who saw him for the last time Monday night in the trauma unit of Orange Park Medical Center.
"She said, 'Uncle is my best friend,' and she gave him a kiss on his forehead and said, 'I love you,'" said Keondre's sister, Kiana Williams.
According to a GoFundMe page set up to help Keondre's family, he turned 16 less than a week ago. He was originally from Kansas City, Kansas.
"He was a very sweet and good young man, who loved his 3-year-old niece," the page said.
According to the page, the teens were leaving school when the crash happened. Sky 4 video taken about 2:30 p.m. from over the scene -- about 2 miles from the high school -- and a photo from a viewer show that a tree appeared to come down on the car.
The Clay County School District released a statement about the tragedy.
"We are deeply saddened to learn that a junior at Oakleaf High School has passed away due to a car accident in the Oakleaf community Monday afternoon. It has been confirmed that two other students were in the vehicle as well and both have suffered serious injuries. The District will provide grief counseling services at Oakleaf High School to support students, staff and family members during this very difficult time. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, and loved ones. Our entire school district is saddened by this devastating news. Please keep this family in your thoughts and prayers as we work through the pain and emotions of this tragic loss."
There will be a balloon release for Keondre at Oakleaf High at 6:45 p.m. Friday before the homecoming game. His favorite color was purple.
The two other teens in the car were in serious condition at a hospital at last check. Police have not said which of the teens was driving the car, although the Moss family said Keondre was a passenger in the front seat.
Anyone who saw the crash or had any information about it is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500 or email JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org.
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