FORT PIERCE, Florida — A 98-year-old man driving an RV the wrong way down a Florida highway killed two teenage pals on their way to a barbecue when he slammed head-on into their car, police said.
Walter Roney was driving west in the eastbound lane of Okeechobee Road Wednesday evening, when his recreational vehicle collided with a Chevy Silverado killing driver Santia Myriah Feketa, 17, and her 16-year-old passenger Britney Lee Poindexter.
Roney, of Dearborn, Michigan, was hospitalized and remains in critical condition, authorities said. His passenger, 75-year-old Carolyn Elizabeth-Evans Bruns, was also hospitalized but was improving and had been able to talk to investigators.
She told them that she and Roney were unaware that the had been driving the wrong way. The road has two lanes heading in each direction that are separated by a grassy median.
Authorities say it appears Roney did not have his lights on at the time of he crash.
Bruns told cops she believed that the headlights had been on but that they had been experiencing a problem with the RV’s interior lights so it was possible the exterior lights had shorted out around the time of the crash.
Police say that at the moment that have no plans to charge Roney but that they were continuing to investigate.
Friends described the two teens from Port St. Lucie as best friends.
“Britney loved life more than anyone I know,” 18-year-old McKenzie Perslin told the Treasure Coast Palm. “No matter what happened, she always had a smile on her face.”
She was a junior at Fort Pierce Central High School, from which her friend Feketa had graduated last year. Feketa was studying to be a kindergarten teacher at Indian River State College.
“As soon as she walked in the room, she’d light you up,” said Savannah Yarborough, 17. “All she knew was to crack some jokes and make you happy.”
Both girls loved animals and horseback riding. Feketa had worked at a veterinary hospital for two years and Poindexter owned a horse named Rusty, friends said.