Family: Girl killed in crash may have been texting

By Hailey Winslow, General assignment reporter, hwinslow@wjxt.com
Steve Patrick, Managing editor of digital content, spatrick@news4jax.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 07:35:36 PM EST
Updated On: Dec 10 2013 10:37:38 PM EST

VIDEO: Destiny Dyal's family and friends are coping with the teens death after she veered off Highway 17 South in Clay County Sunday night, hit a tree and was thrown from her car.

GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. -

As the Clay County Sheriff's Office continues to investigate the single-car crash that killed a 17-year-old her family clings to the girl's last words in a text sent to her boyfriend: "Goodnight. I love you."

Destiny Dyal was on her way home from a friend's house Sunday night when she veered off U.S. Highway 17 and crashed into trees. She was ejected from the vehicle and died at the scene.

A little angel dangles from a tree branch at the site now, above flowers, stuffed animals and car parts scattered in the woods. Her family gathered there Tuesday for prayer.

"I would love to hug and kiss her one more time, and I'd tell her I loved her," says her aunt, Loretta McDade.

After she graduation from high school, Destiny went to cosmetology school. When she realized that wasn't for her, she planned on starting EMT school in January.

"She was always happy. She'd come to my house no matter what time it was. If we were looking down, she always like, 'Let's turn up.' Always," said a friend, Shelby Cloer.

"She loved mudding. She loved horses. She was a very caring girl," said McDade. "She was a little spunky thing."

Destiny's friends say ever since Sunday night, her horse, Patriot, has been running up and down the pasture, making a lot of noises, which they say is very out of character for him.

Her family believes she either couldn't see because of the thick fog that night, or she was texting and driving. She sent a text message to her boyfriend a few minutes before the crash. They believe that the penalties for texting and driving are not strong enough -- that it should be a primary offense.

"I had a hard time sleeping last night because I was thinking about it. I keep thinking, 'I'm never going to see her car pull up at her house again,' or barrel race her favorite horse," Cloer said.

"She was just a beautiful person and everybody who came in contact with her loved her," McDade said.

There will be a viewing for family and friends from 5-6 p.m. Friday at Broadus Raines funeral home in Green Cove Springs. Her funeral will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at Decoy Baptist Church in Green Cove Springs.

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