BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Two families in the Panhandle are now grieving after a fatal crash on Highway 98 in Walton County on Sunday night.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a Honda Civic was traveling westbound on the eastbound lanes near County Road 395 when it collided with a Kia Forte around 9:00 p.m.
Both drivers were pronounced dead at the scene.
The drivers were identified as 23-year-old Kassidy Namniek (Honda) and 17-year-old Caroline Long (Kia).
“This is a tragedy. A 17-year-old lost her life and a 23-year-old lost her life and our deputies certainly were profoundly affected,” said Walton County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer, Corey Dobridnia.
According to the Facebook page for Deane Bozeman High School, Long was a senior at the school.
The post says Long has been a member of the Bucks family since she was in 6th grade, a member of the soccer team, a Diamond Girl and editor of the school’s yearbook.
The post ended with the words, ‘Caroline will be remembered in our hearts forever.’
Long was also a former member of Edgewater Gymnastics.
The club posted on their Facebook page on Monday as well, saying ‘Caroline always had a radiant smile and was a great friend to everyone.’
The Florida Highway Patrol says initial reports indicate there are no signs Namniek was under the influence of alcohol during the time of the crash.
However, the sheriff’s office is encouraging all who may have had too much to drink to stay from behind the wheel.
Dobridnia said, “If you have friends, you go out to the bar, if you know someone who is drinking too much, there’s absolutely no reason to let them drive. Uber is out there, Lyft is out there, call a cab, drive them home yourself.”
The crash is still under investigation.