A car full of teens crashed through a guardrail and into Old Tampa Bay on Friday morning just off the Courtney Campbell Causeway.
According to Tampa police, Gyzelle Diaz, 14, and Rishi Martinez, 18, were killed in the crash. Another 14-year-old girl, Naeve Duarte, survived the crash by swimming back to shore.
"I wanted to follow in his footsteps to be as good as him," David De Leon, Martinez's brother said.
Martinez was supposed to take graduation pictures Friday. He planned on going to college to study criminal justice.
"He didn't get the chance to," Mia De Leon, his sister told FOX 13. "I just love him so much. I'm happy he's done a lot of good things for people, and I think he's just really a good boy."
The crash happened just before 5:00 a.m. on an access road on the westbound side of the causeway. Witnesses heard the black Toyota Camry slam into the guardrail at a high rate of speed and saw the car overturn in the water.
"I heard a big, huge noise. It happened so quick, so fast. When I looked, the van was already in the water," described Juan Ocasio, who was fishing with his dog at the time.
When Duarte told him there were others in the car, he said he jumped into the water, swimming to the car with the teen on his back. Together they tried to open the doors, but did not succeed.
"I told her we had to head back to shore or we would both drown. I was swimming, she was close to me, and I could smell alcohol," Ocasio added.
Within minutes, Tampa Fire Rescue Captain Cory Schumacher and other first responders were in the water trying to pull the victims to safety.
In the dark of night, 15 feet under the murky water with visibility less than a foot, Schumacher found both victims floating inside the upside-down car.
"When I removed the second victim -- it was back to back -- they immediately loaded them onto the boat and began resuscitation efforts and worked them all the way to the boat ramp and continued resuscitation efforts to the hospital," He said.
Detectives said alcohol may have been a factor in the incident. A large blue vodka bottle was found inside the vehicle.
Emergency crews arrived about 20 minutes later, rescuing Diaz and Martinez from the submerged vehicle. CPR was performed on scene. Both were taken to St. Joseph's Hospital, where they later died.
Diaz and Martinez both lived on Poe Drive in a mobile home community in Tampa. Duarte was visiting from Inglewood, California. She was treated for minor injuries at St. Joseph's Hospital.
"He seemed to be a good boy, not a trouble maker or anything. As far as I know he mostly was working with his dad," explained Maria Rodriyuez Oviedel, who lives across the street and is friends with the mother of Martinez.
Tampa police reports show Martinez was arrested two weeks early, July 18, in Ybor City for resisting an officer without violence. He had no prior arrest record.