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Update: University of Florida student dead after crash on University Ave Saturday night

Published: Jan. 16, 2021 at 9:06 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -A University of Florida student died Saturday night after being hit by a car on University Ave in Gainesville.

19-year-old Sophia Lambert passed away at the hospital hours after the accident. Lambert was from Miami and a freshman at UF.

According to Gainesville Police, a Honda Civic traveling east on University Ave hit a Honda Accord that was turning from the west bound lane onto 17th St. The Civic then went off the road, hitting a pole and five UF students.

“This is an awful awful incident,” Gainesville Police Dept. spokesperson Graham Glover said. “I am certain that everyone in Gainesville And UF would share that as well and I am confident that our investigators detectives will be able to find out what happened and hopefully we can get to the bottom of this very soon.”

All five students were taken to the hospital, along with the driver of the Civic.

The five girls were members of Chabad UF and the Jewish Gator community, as well as the Delta Phi Epsilon sorority. Rabbi Berl Goldman told TV20 that one of the girls, Michelle, needed two surgeries due to injuries she suffered. She is expected to make a full recovery.

“It’s unbelievable, unimaginable, but what we can do, is do what the girls and their families are doing for each other, being there for each other, praying together, assisting each other, and really giving each other that family warmth that’s needed,” Goldman said.

Lily, Hope and Sam, the three other girls involved suffered only minor injuries.

Goldman said Sophia was a special soul, and that, despite having her life cut short, her impacts on those who knew her will always be remembered.

“There’s no doubt she was a special soul among us, that impacted and affected people in what takes a lifetime, in such a short period of time, it’s a small comfort,” he said.

Police continue to investigate the factors that led to the crash.

Gainesville City Commissioner David Arreola said the crash is one of the worst he’s seen.

“It was a horrible collision,” Arreola said, “the car that spun into the group of students was badly damaged and it is really gut wrenching when someone who is only 19 and is away from home and there are people in the hospital now fighting of their health and it is just really heart-wrenching.”

A UF student started a petition to put pressure on city and university leaders to make changes to University Ave to make it safer for students.

This is the second accident in as many months in which a UF student was killed on University Ave.

In December, 18-year-old Margaret Paxton was killed in a hit-and-run accident. Police are still looking for the driver that killed her

Related Story: 18-year-old UF hit and run victim Margaret Paxton remembered by best friend

Related story: University of Florida student killed in hit and run, GPD looking for suspect

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