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Students, teachers react to the death of 17-year-old Janay Jackson

6:24 PM, Aug 28, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Gerald Jackson said he has always tried to protect his daughter from a violent society; but losing her to a van crashing into her bedroom was unthinkable. Prior to the accident, it was a normal night, he said; now the family is planning a funeral.

17-year-old Janay Jackson was a senior at Wolfson High School. The school's marquee shows how much she was loved. Family members say she was third in her class, a high achiever and dreamed of attending nursing school.

Tim Griffin, a Wolfson graduate, has known her since her freshman year.

"It hit me hard," said Griffin, "I still can't believe it."

Mikel Andrews attends Wolfson and was in the band with Jackson.

"She was so joyful," said Andrews, "so educated. She helped me on many things, math, everything."

Sheri Porubski is Jackson's first period teacher and described her as exceptional. Porubski said the news of her death was shocking.

"The girls closest to her, who had sat with her and build up dreams with her, were devastated," said Porubski, "The wail was just unbelievable. I don't think I've ever head such mourning."

Elisabeth Sundstrom was her second period teacher and said Jackson was smart and compassionate.

"She was a lovely young lady, very quiet, very sweet. You could count on her," said Sundstrom.

Since entering high school, her teachers say she has received two B's -- all of her grades have been A's.

The Jackson home is at the intersection of Barnes and Kennerly roads. Neighbors say it has been a dangerous location for a long time. Trish Hunt lived next door.

"They (the city) never did anything," said Hunt, "So the owner put up a wall to try to prevent this tragedy, and unfortunately, it happened today."

Could this tragedy have been avoided? Did traffic engineering do enough?

Jackson said he filed complaints with the city in the past, but nothing ever happened.

District Councilman Don Redman said he is unaware of the history, but it now has his attention.

"We will look into it and see what might be needed to make it a safer intersection," said Redman.

Debbie Delgado, Spokesperson for Jacksonville Public Works said:

"We have searched all Engineering Division Available files and CARE database (dating back to 1997) and find no record of any requests made directly to the city for a traffic study or traffic improvement at Barnes/Kennerly."

The intersection she said, "meets city standard specifications." 

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