HANOVER TWP. — The person killed in a one-vehicle crash Saturday night on South Main Street was a Wyoming Valley West High student who friends described as kind, sweet and “a beautiful soul.”
The victim was identified as 16-year-old Jasmine Cardona of Plymouth, according to Luzerne County Deputy Coroner Dan Hughes.
Wyoming Valley West Superintendent Irvin DeRemer said district guidance counselors will be available to students and faculty Tuesday, and the district also is bringing in staff from the Children’s Service Center Crisis Unit “for anyone who needs help and support.”
According to police, a vehicle was traveling south on South Main Street, in the area of Strand Street, at about 11 p.m. Saturday when it crossed into the northbound lane, struck and broke a PPL utility pole and came to rest in an open field.
Township Police Chief Albert Walker said his department is following up on numerous leads, but declined to comment further. He asked that anyone who witnessed the crash contact police at 570-825-1254.
Dave Jones, groundskeeper for St. Peter’s Lutheran Church next door, told Times Leader media partner Fox 56 that he was shocked to learn about the tragedy when he came to work Monday morning, and noted that speeding along that section of Main Street is a problem.
“Its gets pretty hectic around here. Sometimes, they really go too fast, especially around this turn here coming from Wilkes-Barre into Hanover Township,” Jones said. “We actually could use a little patrolling here and start ticketing to slow them down because it really is dangerous.”
The car was occupied by four 16-year-old girls, according to media reports. All four occupants were taken by ambulance to hospitals.
Expressions of sorrow
Cardona, a junior, was active on social media, and many of her friends on Facebook posted messages of sorrow and regret. One of those posts came from a girl who apparently was in the vehicle that crashed.
“I’m not worried about myself. Everybody, I’m okay,” Kiera Grande wrote. “I should be recovered and walking again soon enough. But for all Jasmine’s family and friends, this is a nightmare.”
Referring to Cardona as her best friend, Grande said she “never felt a pain like this. I never thought I would know what this felt like. It should have been me, not you. My little angel, I’ll be thinking about you every second of every day, and everything I do will be for you. You were here for me like no one ever was. I miss you so much, bestfriend. … I don’t want to live a life where you’re not in it. I have no words. Please keep praying for her family and friends. And thank you to everyone for the kind words.”
Valley West junior Arieonna Sutton told the Times Leader via Facebook message that Cardona was “a beautiful girl, she was amazing in every way. She was smart, funny, always there for people. No matter what the problem was, she never gave up on anyone. She was there at any time. She was just full of life. She was my bestfriend.”
Sutton said the two had known each other for three years. They met when they “had bio together and she asked me for a pencil. She meant a lot to me. She would always talk about her future and what she wanted to be. She was always there for me. She never let me down. She cared so much for her friends. She would have done anything for us. She always made sure that we knew that she loved us, even at the worse of times.”
Alora DeLuca, also a junior at Valley West, knew Cardona since second grade.
“We used to hang out when we were little, but we got into a fight two years ago and just last year made up and became closer than anything and anyone could ever be,” DeLuca said via Facebook message.
“I want everyone to know how much I love her and miss her and I’ll never forget seeing her beautiful smile and her laugh that made me laugh. I went from seeing her every single day to now never seeing her again. She gave me a sign today (that she’s still around) so I know she loves me and misses me and wants me to be happy,” DeLuca said.
A ‘Golden Sibling’
Cardona had also been a great support to her brother, who had cancer.
Tina Jezuit, founder of Cancertacular, a nonprofit formed to increase awareness of childhood cancer and support Northeastern Pennsylvania children with cancer and their families, posted on the organization’s Facebook page that it was “seemingly impossible to process this tragedy.”
“Jasmine has been an amazing Golden Sibling to survivor Jonathan Cardona. As we wade through this unthinkable twist together, please keep Jasmine Cardona, her entire family, and the other victims of this accident in your thoughts and prayers,” Jezuit posted.
Derek Hart, of Montoursville, posted about Cardona’s death on the Camp Dost Family Facebook page. Camp Dost is a program of the Ronald McDonald House of Danville started in 1983 to offer pediatric oncology patients and their siblings a summer experience.
Calling Cardona “a former Camp Dost friend and camper,” Hart said everyone who knew her “knew that she was sweet, kind, and a loving sister to her brother, Jonathan. Please keep her family and friends in your prayers. Rest In Peace, Jasmine.”