Apopka teenager killed in Florida Turnpike crash

Teen struck by car while on shoulder, FHP says

ORANGE COUNTY Fla. – Troopers said Sunday that a 16-year-old boy was hit and killed while standing on the shoulder of the Florida Turnpike after a driver fell asleep while driving.

The teen's family is now mourning his death, less than a year since his mother also passed away.

Family members said that Sonjay Nandram,16, was a senior at Apopka High School.

His father, Mohabir Nandram, said troopers knocked on his door Sunday morning. 

"I said officer what are you here to tell me? Is it about my son? He said, 'Well I'm sorry to say that he passed away,'" Nandram said. "He was my backbone. He was my support. He was my world. He was my king. He was my treasure, and today I've lost that."

The Florida Highway Patrol said Sonjay was standing next to his vehicle on the shoulder of the Northbound lanes of the Florida Turnpike near mile marker 264 at about 6:40 a.m. Investigators said the teen had pulled his vehicle into the shoulder after an accident with another vehicle.

Troops said that while Sonjay was standing on the side of the road, another vehicle driven by Tanaya Garcia, 32, veered off the roadway, hitting and killing the teen. Troopers said Garcia told them that she had just fallen asleep before striking the teen's vehicle.

"Do not sleep on the wheel. Do not do that. It's very dangerous, and because someone did that, I've lost everything today," Nandram said.

Nandram said that this is the second tragedy to hit his family in less than a year, after Sonjay's mother passed away outside their home last Fall. Nandram said that following his mother's death, Sonjay became the man of the house, helping his family overcome their loss.

"On Nov. 11, 2015, my wife had a heart attack and she passed in the presence of myself and my son. It's 10 months now, we were preparing for her memorial, and now we are struck with another death," Nandram said.

The father said that his son wanted to go to college and follow in the health care field.

The FHP is still investigating what, if any charges will be filed against the driver. 

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