SUNRISE, FLA. (WSVN) – Two teenagers died after the car they were in went into a canal in Sunrise, launching hours-long rescue and recovery efforts and leaving a community devastated.
Seventeen-year-old Frandeline Joseph and 16-year-old Sherwenly Luxilien were both juniors at Plantation High School.
Luxilien’s mother, Rosemary Luxilien, spoke with 7News on Thursday.
“My son is my friend, my friend, my confidence,” she said as she fought back tears.
The grieving parent described the last time she saw her son.
“Before he goes to school. He tells me, ‘Mommy, I love you. You know I love you,’” she said. “I said, ‘Yes, I know you love me.’”
Hours later, when Rosemary didn’t hear from her son, she tried calling him.
“I keep calling, calling, calling, calling, calling, no answer,” she said. “When I see the police coming, the police tell me, ‘Oh, you’re Sherwenly’s momma?’ I say, ‘Yes.’ He say, ‘Your son died.’”
The tragedy happened near the parking lot of the Jersey College School of Nursing.
Surveillance video captured the gold-colored sedan that the teens were in driving slowly through the parking lot. Moments later, the vehicle was seen picking up speed before it landed in the water.
Good Samaritans Dr. John Silver and Gerrfried Medelus described what they saw.
“Fifteen, 20 feet off that bank, you could see some bubbles coming up still,” said Silver, a teacher at the nursing school.
Silver said he jumped in to help.
“I went in, I went over to the bubbles. I went down, but I couldn’t see anything in the water,” he said. “I think the car kicked up a lot of silt when it went in. I couldn’t see four inches in front of my face.”
Medelus said he also went into the canal.
“The students were lined up over here, and [witnesses] were pointing to the water. They’re like, ‘Hey, somebody’s drowning in the water, somebody’s drowning,’” he said.
Eyewitnesses said the victims were able to get out of the vehicle, but they couldn’t swim.
Rescue divers were seen entering the water and pulling Joseph from the water. Sunrise Fire Rescue crews treated her in the back of a rescue truck before transporting her to Florida Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.
“The car went for the parking spot over the edge into the canal, could be, possibly, you know one of those unfortunate instances,” said Sunrise Fire Rescue Capt. John McNamara.
Luxilien was found dead inside the vehicle Wednesday night.
It’s a tragic end that haunts those who tried to help.
“We want to save lives, so we save lives. I can’t believe I couldn’t help,” said Silver as he broke down in tears.
Plantation High School said they have grief counselors available on campus to meet with any students needing assistance or support.
Nursing students from the school where the accident occurred were seen placing flowers Thursday afternoon. They also said a prayer.
The victims’ classmates at Plantation High were also grieving.
“I heard it was 20-feet-deep water. Even if you know how to swim, I feel it was the panic and the shock,” said classmate Rheanna Lewis. “They were young, next year they would have been seniors, and this whole school is in distress about the whole thing. Like, everybody has been feeling that type of way.”
“It’s kind of sad knowing that he went home, and that was the last thing he was going to do,” said classmate Edrick Metayer.
Some students described Joseph as a straight-A student. A GoFundMe page has been created to help her family with funeral expenses.
The investigation continues.
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