PLANT CITY, Fla. (WFLA) – Students and staff at Mulberry High School are mourning the deaths of two teens who were killed in a crash on the way to the school’s graduation ceremony on Thursday afternoon. A third student, who was scheduled to graduate Thursday, was critically injured in the crash.
The teens were in a car that ran a red light and crashed into two other vehicles at a Plant City intersection.
Pepe Salgado, 18, of Mulberry, and Frinzi Salgado-Diaz, 15, of Mulberry were killed in the crash.
A school spokesperson said that the two teens were related to each other. Frinzi Salgado-Diaz was a 9th grade student at MHS. Pepe Salgado was a former student at MHS who was a student at New Beginnings High School at the time of his death.
Mulberry High School student Edilberto Nava-Marcos, 18, was critically injured in the crash. School officials say he is a senior at MHS and would have graduated on Thursday. Nava-Marcos is in an induced coma at Lakeland Regional Medical Center.
“Please keep the families in your thoughts and prayers,” said a Mulberry High School spokesperson. A crisis team is helping students at the school.
Investigators with the Florida Highway Patrol say Edilberto Nava-Marcos was driving a 2002 Corolla westbound on Trapnell Road around 2:30 p.m. on Thursday.
Nava-Marcos ran a red light at the intersection of Trapnell Road and State Route 39 and collided with a 2015 Honda Civic driven by Danisia Fontanez, 28, of Plant City.
The impact of the crash caused Nava-Marcos’ car to hit a 2006 Ford Freestar that was stopped for the red light at the intersection.
Pepe Salgado and Frinzi Salgado-Diaz were passengers in Nava-Marcos’ Corolla.
Frinz Salgado-Diaz died at the scene of the crash. Pepe Salgado was transported to Tampa General Hospital and died from injuries suffered in the crash. Edilberto Nava-Marcos was critically injured and was transported to Lakeland Regional Medical Center.
“This is a very sad day for our school and community. We are mourning the loss of Frinzi and Pepe, and are praying for Edilberto as he remains in the hospital. Our hearts go out to their families.
Frinzi was a friend to everyone at Mulberry High. She had a great smile, a positive attitude, and worked well with her classmates. She also loved her agriculture class and enjoyed working with animals.
Pepe was a former student at Mulberry Middle and Mulberry High. We knew him as a talented athlete with a passion for soccer. He loved his family deeply. Pepe was outgoing and had a great sense of humor. He also was a focused young man who was determined to better himself.
‘Eddie’ is well-liked by his peers and has a wonderful, bright smile. He is respectful of everyone, and his teachers say he is a hardworking student who is very diligent in his studies. He also loves soccer and played for Mulberry High this year,” said Mulberry High School Principal Michael Young.
“We are deeply saddened. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the students’ families,” said Polk County Schools Superintendent Jacqueline M. Byrd.
A 10-year-old girl who was a passenger in the Honda suffered minor injuries and was transported to Lakeland Regional Medical Center.
The three people in the Ford Freestar were not injured.
FHP investigators say alcohol was not believed to be a factor in the crash. Everyone in all three vehicles was wearing a seat belt.