22-year-old in I-295 crash dies
Updated On: Dec 14 2012 09:16:52 PM EST
A 22-year-old passenger in a crash on Interstate 295 early Monday morning has died.
Ronnie Powell had been critically injured in the single-vehicle crash, which happened on his birthday. He died Thursday after being taken off life support.
Powell was one of four people in a Nissan Pathfinder that overturned on I-295 at San Jose Boulevard about 4:30 a.m.
Powell's mother, Kelly McCracken Bauer, is reaching out to tell her son's story and how his life is helping others through organ donation.
"Christmastime is the time of giving, and I think my son gave the ultimate gift of life, and I want other people to realize how important that is," Bauer said. "To think that your son laying there, his heart still beating, you can hear his heart beating, and for them to tell you that you have to turn that plug off."
Bauer said Powell was her firstborn, and telling him goodbye Thursday seemed unreal.
"It was the toughest decision of my life as a mother, having brought him into the world, to really have to take him out, but in my mind, he passed away on that road," Bauer said.
She said her son lives on, not just through the 2-year-old son he leaves behind, but through being an organ donor.
MORE INFORMATION: Find out how to become organ donor
"Please become an organ donor, because part of my son lives on, and that means so much to me," Bauer said.
She said because Powell was 22 and healthy, nearly all of his organs are able to be donated, saving and helping so many.
"I've been in a state of shock and devastation, but the fact that he was able to keep other people alive and his generosity, that's the kind of person he was," Bauer said.
Powell briefly went to Sandalwood High School but graduated from a high school in Hawaii. He played soccer, baseball and football, and graduated with honors, then joined the Army after graduation.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the driver of the SUV, 22-year-old Jacob Thomas Lin-Justiniano, lost control of the SUV, which struck a guardrail and overturned. Troopers said the crash was alcohol related.
Lin-Justiniano, Powell's best friend, was also critically injured. Passengers Fiona Ann Castor, 21, and Qiante Jackson, 23, were both hospitalized with serious injuries and have since been released.
Troopers said none of the occupants were wearing seat belts.
Two of the three southbound lanes of Interstate 295 near San Jose Boulevard were blocked for nearly four hours after an ice cream truck avoiding the crash overturned (View images).
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