Family to accept daughter's UCF diploma after deadly crash
FHP: Driver was moving at speeds up to 128 mph
ORLANDO, Fla. – The family of one of the women killed in a violent crash on New Year's Eve in Winter Park said it will accept her diploma Saturday at the University of Central Florida.
Florida Highway Patrol investigators said Geena Pabarue and Keisha Parales, both 23, were killed on Dec. 31, 2017, when a driver, moving at speeds of up to 128 mph, hit the car they were in.
Pabarue was set to graduate UCF on Saturday.
"We know we have to be there for her," said Pabarue's sister, Everyis Lopez. "It's just really painful."
Lopez and her younger sister said they will walk across the stage and accept Pabarue's diploma. They said she was a business major, with minors in criminal justice and nonprofit management.
"She would sit at that dining room table for hours studying, and she never stopped working," Lopez said.
She told News 6 that Pabarue would have been the first person in her family to graduate from college. Now, it's something she and her father will not see.
"'Make sure that when I'm walking across the stage I see you in the audience.' That's the last thing she said to me," said her father, Cedric Pabarue. "That’s how much this means to me."
"We're definitely going to be thinking of her," Lopez said. "We're all very proud, but it's also very hard because there's going to be an empty seat."
The man who was eventually arrested in connection with the crash -- Justin Fonner -- pleaded not guilty to two counts of vehicular homicide and two counts of reckless driving. His trial is currently set to begin in mid-July.
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