LAKE CITY, Fla. -- Hundreds turned out to Lake Desoto to remember Czarrah Howard. Many were in tears, but everyone was heartbroken over the loss of an outgoing 17-year-old girl.
"She was my best friend, she was my whole life and it really hurts that she's not here no more," said friend Cyrena Spagnola.
We're told Czarrah loved to make people smile and aspired to be a doctor.
[Slideshow: Memorial for Czarrah Howard
"She had so many dreams. She had a bright future and she had a scholarship at school," said family friend Dhena Grover.
Friends say Czarrah was excited for her senior year at Columbia High School and was helping to build their homecoming float on campus.
Minutes after leaving, the truck she and three of her friends were driving in was hit by another truck that was reportedly carrying five other classmates. Friends say Czarrah was trying to buckle her seat belt right before the wreck but was ejected from the vehicle before she could.
"She could still be with us if she wore a seat belt," said Spagnola. Spagnola admits she didn't wear seat belts before but is now making it a point to do so. "I want everybody to know to wear a seat belt. Don't think it can't happen to you," she said.
That message was one of many at Tuesday night's vigil but perhaps the most important is the love they sent up high for their shining star.
Action News also spoke with the family of one of the teens in the other vehicle, that crashed into Czarrah and her friends. They tell us the intersection at U.S. 41 and Malone has a timing issue with the lights. We timed it ourselves and found some inconsistencies, but we're looking into it to find out more details.
The Regar family released a statement, saying, "We're sorry about what happened, our hearts and prayers go out to all families involved, especially the Howard family. Our sons are very upset and heartbroken over the situation that occurred." The crash is under investigation.