Siblings die in car crash before friend's graduation ceremony

- Two Mulberry teens -- a brother and sister -- died in a car crash and a third teen was critically injured just hours before he was set to graduate high school.

Pepe Salgado, 18, and Frinzi Salgado-Diaz, 15, were brother and sister. Frinzi was a freshman at Mulberry High School. Pepe was a former student at Mulberry High who was currently attending New Beginnings High School. 

The driver, 18-year-old Edilberto Nava-Marcos, is in critical condition. He was a senior at Mulberry High School and was supposed to graduate that evening.

According to Florida Highway Patrol, the three teens were trying to turn left onto Trapnell Road from State Road 39 when they were hit. Surveillance video from a nearby store shows the impact, a cloud of smoke, and then a third car spinning out of control to avoid the wreckage. 

Occupants in the other cars did not suffer any serious injuries, according to FHP. But Frinzi and Pepe were killed in the crash.

“We are deeply saddened," offered Superintendent Jacqueline Byrd.  "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the students’ families."

“This is a very sad day for our school and community," added Michael Young, the principal of Mulberry High School, where guidance counselors were available to students today.  "We are mourning the loss of Frinzi and Pepe, and are praying for Edilberto as he remains in the hospital. Our hearts go out to their families."

Young spoke highly of all three teens involved:

"Frinzi was a friend to everyone at Mulberry High. She had a great smile, a positive attitude, and worked well with her classmates. She also loved her agriculture class and enjoyed working with animals.

Pepe was a former student at Mulberry Middle and Mulberry High. We knew him as a talented athlete with a passion for soccer. He loved his family deeply. Pepe was outgoing and had a great sense of humor. He also was a focused young man who was determined to better himself.

‘Eddie’ is well-liked by his peers and has a wonderful, bright smile. He is respectful of everyone, and his teachers say he is a hardworking student who is very diligent in his studies. He also loves soccer and played for Mulberry High this year.”    

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