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Father of basketball star killed in crash speaks out

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Updated: 4/22/2013 6:59 pm
ORANGE PARK, Fla. -- The pain of losing a child became all too real for David Gladden on Friday night.

"We're kind of always looking at the doorway for her to some ow come here. It's been very difficult just to know I won't see her again," said David Gladden.

Gladden's daughter, Alicia Gladden, 27, was known as a force on the basketball court. She was a star at Orange Park High and at Florida State University, where she holds the record for steals.

Alicia Gladden also played professionally in Poland, Belgium, and Romania. She had just returned home from overseas last year.

On Friday night, her life was cut short. She was hit by a car, witnesses say, that was going fast on Roosevelt Boulevard in Avondale.

"We're still trying to get over the shock," said Gladden.

According to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, Gladden and the driver of the other vehicle were pronounced dead at the scene. A passenger in the other car was transported to a local hospital in critical condition.

Police say there are early signs that the person driving the car that hit Gladden had been drinking.

Grief counselors were at Creekside High School on Monday to help students through the grieving process.
"What a bright star, great athlete but even a better person," said J. Randy Johnson, Creekside High School principal.
Most recently, Alicia Gladden was the assistant basketball coach for the Lady Knights at Creekside High.

Johnson says even though she had only been on the staff for a year, she made a big impact.

"She helped us earn a district championship," said Johnson.

As the basketball star's family tries to cope with her loss, Gladden hopes her legacy will live on.

"She believed in sharing the ball and getting all her teammates involved. Instead of being a player that is selfish, she wanted everyone to experience the feeling of being a part of the team," said Gladden.

Alicia Gladden's funeral will be this Friday at Orange Park Christian Center. The entire Lady Knights basketball team plans to attend.

The family has also set up the Alicia Gladden Memorial Fund for anyone that wants to donate to help with funeral expenses. Donations can be made at any Wells Fargo branch.
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