FHP searching for driver after Brooksville crash that killed teen

- A teenage girl was killed when the vehicle she was riding in flipped over, but investigators say there were two cars involved in this crash.

They want to know where that second car is, and what was happening in the moments leading up to her death.

The crash happened around 4:40 p.m. Thursday, north of Weeki Wachee. According to Florida Highway Patrol, 17-year-old Kendall Tucker was a passenger in a Jeep Cherokee driven by 20-year-old Jarod Waters.

As they were driving north on U.S. 19, approaching Glen Lakes Boulevard, FHP says a silver Volkswagen sedan was traveling beside them.

According to the crash report, both vehicles were making "erratic lane changes" when Waters lost control of his Jeep, flipping over and landing in a ditch. Troopers say Tucker was not wearing a seat belt. She was ejected and killed. Waters was seriously hurt.

Despite the deadly crash, that second vehicle did not stop. FHP says they made a U-turn at Glen Lakes and drove south on U.S. 19. Troopers want to know who was inside that vehicle and what exactly was happening right before Tucker lost her life.

Tucker was previously a student at Springstead High School. Carmine Rufa, Principal of Springstead said, "She was a great girl. It's just horrible."

Instead of celebrating a new school year, he, the staff and students are mourning a tough loss.

"It's something that no one wants to see every happen, especially so young," Rufa said.

Rufa said that Tucker graduated early last school year, ahead of her classmates, was a member of Springstead's swim team and ROTC.

"A very hard worker," Rufa said. "She was on top her work, great girl, bright girl."

Tucker's manager at Cracker Barrel, where she worked, said you could only say good things about her. 

Co-worker Nikolette Reed said, "I was just like no, it's not her, can't be, she's too young, she just started college."

"Graduated early," co-worker Paige Frankenberg continued. "She had so much going on. She was so excited to start her life."

"She was always first with a smile," Rufa said. "She always came up to me and said, 'Hi, how are you doing, Mr. Rufa?' And, I said, 'Great, Kendall, how you doing?' 'Great, Just trying to get my schedule set. I want to graduate early'."  

While she was able to graduate early, her life ended far too soon.

"She was honestly super funny, super smart," said Reed. "She had that personality that you always wanted to talk to her."

"We are all family here," Frankenberg said. "We all miss her so much."

A big question is, will there be charges in this deadly crash? That depends. Again, the vehicles never touched prior to the crash. So, the key for investigators will be tracking down that other driver in the silver Volkswagen sedan, hearing what they say happened on the road, and being able to prove that. 

Anyone with information on the Volkswagen’s location, as well as its driver at the time of the crash, is asked to call FHP at (813) 558-1800.

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