It was supposed to be a beautiful day. Kids were heading towards their high school graduation. Parents should have been getting their cameras ready to take photos as their children walked up to the stage to receive their diplomas. But on May of 2017, a roadside mistake would bring with it unbelievable destruction that no one could have anticipated. Suddenly, the day went from bright and happy to dark and gloomy. And sadly, everyone had learned the hardest lesson of all, that life is a fragile thing, and before you know it, it’s gone.Pepe Salgado, 18, and Frinzi Salgado-Diaz, 15 were in a car with 18-year-old Edilberto Nava-Marcos, and they had no idea that their lives were about to change forever.
Frinzi was a freshman at Mulberry High School, while her brother Pepe, a former student at Mulberry High, was no attending New Beginnings High School. As for Edilberto, he was a senior at Mulberry and was supposed to graduate that evening.
Their first priority was to the teens and their emotional well being, so crisis counselors became available for students at Mulberry High who had a hard time dealing with the loss of two wonderful people.
They had no way of knowing that they would never make it there or that two of them would lose their lives.
Intersections are terrifying enough. You often have to rely on faith that everyone will follow the rules of the traffic signs and traffic lights. But something went horribly wrong.
Surveillance video from a nearby store showed the impact, a cloud of smoke, and then a third car spinning out of control to avoid the terrible wreckage.
But Frinzi and Pepe were killed in the crash, and Edilberto was left in critical condition from the injuries he sustained.
The crash caused the Toyota to spin, flip and strike a third vehicle. Fontanez was not hurt in the collision and her passengers only suffered some minor injuries. Unfortunately, the same couldn’t be said for those Danisia struck.
Unfortunately, doctors were unable to save him and he died from his injuries. Meanwhile, Frinzi and Pepe’s cousin, Edilberto clung to life at Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center.
In fact, according to the school principal, Michael Young, the hospital was packed with Mulberry High’s newest graduates, along with teachers and friends who had watched the family grow up.
This might explain why everyone there feels more like a tight-knit family than anything else. The loss of two of their own has left everyone devastated.
Frinzi was everyone’s friend at Mulberry High. She had a great smile and a positive attitude. As for Pepe, he was known as a talented athlete with a passion for soccer. And Edilberto, who is barely clinging to life had a wonderful, bright smile, was well-liked and was respectful of everyone.
“We are deeply saddened. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the students and their families,” she said, adding, “With this happening so suddenly, I want to respect the privacy of the families while they deal with this tragic accident.”
“He was at our graduation practice that morning and was so excited, but then he never showed up to the ceremony.” He added that “none of us knew what happened until today, very early this morning.”
But according to police, it’s unlikely given that Edilberto’s Toyota entered the middle of the intersection when the traffic light was red. It was just a horrible mistake with even worse consequences.
They were always, bubbly, smiling, happy, and most of all, full of life, making what happened on that fateful afternoon in Hillsborough County, that much more heartbreaking.
She loved her agriculture class and also enjoyed working with animals. She had a big heart and a kind face to match.
He was outgoing and had a great sense of humor. He was also focused and determined to better himself.
While his family clings to hope that he will come out of this alright, this tragedy will cast a terrible darkness over an otherwise happy event as his peers struggle to get through graduation. One thing’s for sure, this will remind them to value life and the time they have.
You don’t expect two people with such an amazing future ahead of them to check out in their teens. But no matter how the community felt, no loss can be more intense than those that Pepe and Frinzi’s family have had to endure.
To help the family deal with funeral expenses, a GoFundMe account was established to assist the victim’s families. At last report, the account had reached $2,865 towards a $20,000 goal, but the page has since been taken down, and there’s no word on whether the family reached their goal.
**Click on the video below to witness how this tragic story unfolded of 2 Polk County high school students who were killed en route to their graduation ceremony.**