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UPDATE: Three University of Florida students hit by a car released from hospital, UF mourns loss

Published: Jan. 18, 2021 at 1:20 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Three pedestrians hit by a car on Saturday night are headed home after being released from the hospital.

According to Gainesville Police, only one student remains at UF Health Shands on Monday.

GPD says 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 University of Florida students and killing Sophia Lambert, 19.

“This is an awful awful incident,” Gainesville Police Dept. spokesperson Graham Glover told TV20 on Sunday. “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.”

“My heart, and the heart of the Gator Nation, goes out to the family and friends of UF student Sophia Lambert,” said University of Florida President Kent Fuchs. “We pray for the others injured in Saturday night’s terrible crash and are committed to efforts regarding pedestrian safety on and around campus.”

“We ask that you please keep Sophia, her family and her community lifted in your thoughts, as well as her classmates who sustained injuries during this tragic accident,” said Senior VP and COO Charlie Lane and Student Affairs VP D’Andra Mull in a written statement to the university community.

The driver of the Civic was also taken to the hospital and was released.

Police continue to investigate the factors that led to the crash. GPS says the investigation is expected to take some time. No charges have yet to be filed.

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

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

“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.

The university is also making counseling services available.

“if you need support, please do not hesitate to reach out to us for help. The loss of any student life is unfathomable, and we recognize the effect the loss of one of our own has on the collective community,” wrote Lane and Hill in the statement. “ Students can reach out to U Matter, We Care or the Counseling & Wellness Center. Faculty and staff are encouraged to connect with the Employee Assistance Program.

“The safety of our campus is paramount, and we want you to know conversations are underway regarding pedestrian and vehicular safety, on and around our campus. During this difficult time, we ask that you continue to keep our impacted community members in your thoughts.”

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

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

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