South Tampa remembers mother, daughter killed on Bayshore
TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - The South Tampa community gathered Thursday on the anniversary of a deadly crash that killed a mother and her young daughter as they crossed Bayshore Boulevard.
By early afternoon, organizers had built a small memorial at the intersection of Bayshore and Knights Avenue, including two names scrawled in chalk: Jessica and Lillia.
Those are names that weigh heavily on this community.
"It's a flood of memories from a year ago when we heard about this tragic accident," Stephanie Nay said, as she colored in the names. "We all just came together to mourn the lives of two beautiful girls that were lost in such a terrible way and I can't believe a year has already passed by."
On May 23, 2018, Jessica Raubenolt, 24, was pushing her 21-month-old daughter, Lillia, in a stroller across Bayshore. Tampa Police believe teenagers were street racing down the road, with speeds topping 100 miles per hour. One of the vehicles slammed in two the mother and daughter, killing them.
The deaths shocked the neighborhood and still do 12 months later.
"Everyday I drive down Bayshore and it breaks my heart when I see people fly by me because it does, it brings back this memory of when we lost Jessica and Lillia. It's just really upsetting," said Nay.
"I felt like my heart was broken," added Zhenya Nicols, who helped organize the memorial. "I felt like it happened to me. It could have been me. It could have been my child."
Two teenagers, Cameron Herrin and John Barrineau, are facing vehicular homicide and unlawful racing charges. Tristan Herrin is also facing a racing charge.
The crash sparked outrage and anger in the community. Activists pushed for changes along Bayshore Boulevard.
In the months that followed, the city lowered the speed limit from 40 to 35 miles per hour. Three crosswalks with flashing lights have also been installed.
During the last year, Tampa Police have also handed out more tickets along that stretch of road: 1,346 since May 23, 2018, in comparison to about 1,000 a year earlier. Officers have also warned about 800 drivers.
"It is significantly safer. Significantly. It's just not where we want to be ultimately," said Christine Acosta, with Bike Walk Tampa Bay.
"I think we just really needed to stand back and look at what happened this year and how far we've come in some ways and also to honor the loss," added Lin Ninnis, a neighbor who helped organize the memorial.
"We still care and they're still in our hearts and they always will be."
Relatives of Jessica and Lillia chose not to attend the memorial along Bayshore Boulevard Thursday. The family is from Ohio and held their own memorial out of state.