A former Florida State College at Jacksonville student died early Thursday morning while riding in a car that spun out of control and hit a guardrail in East Arlington.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a silver Honda Civic was traveling west on Atlantic Boulevard exiting onto the service road to Kernan Boulevard about 1 a.m. when the driver swerved abruptly to the left and the car rotated counter-clockwise across the grass divider. The passenger side of the Honda struck the end of a guardrail.
The passenger, 21-year-old Alexia Sawyer (pictured below), died at the scene, according to FHP. Sawyer was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash, according to the report.
Troopers say the driver, 22-year-old Kristopher Williams, sustained a minor injury but did not require hospitalization. He was wearing a seat belt, troopers said.
FHP is investigating if alcohol was a factor in the crash and said charges are pending.
The ramp to Kernan Boulevard was closed for hours while troopers investigated the crash and reopened a little after 5 a.m.
Sawyer's mother, Tracey Sawyer, said her daughter wanted to become a screenwriter and was set to transfer to the University of South Florida in Tampa next semester.
"I am going to miss looking at her coming through here and saying, 'Hi, mom,' or 'What are you doing?'" Tracey said.
Surrounded by friends and family, Tracey recalled her best memories of her daughter on a day she said is the most heart-wrenching, most horrible nightmare that she hopes to wake up from soon. When state troopers told her about the crash that took her daughter's life, she didn't believe it.
"She always had a smile. She was always full of life, she loved her family," Tracey said. "She loved her mother, she loved her father. She loved her sister. Alexia was a free spirit."
Alexia was passionate about photography. Her mother said she would take pictures for friends and family, but especially loved taking pictures of her young niece. Tracey said her daughter was always upbeat and very wise for her age, with a smile that could light up the room.
"That's the most important part I am going to miss: her beautiful smile, when her eyes light up," Tracey said. "I am going to miss her hugs. I'm going to miss her so much."
Tracey said she's thankful that their family members are there to support her and share all of the memories that they have of the young woman they will never forget.
"We had her for thankfully 21 years, and I thank God for it," Tracey said. "I know that through prayer and the strength of my faith in God, my family, we will make it through."