TAMPA, Florida - Friends are mourning the loss of a Plant High School senior who was killed in a crash in the Tallahassee area on Friday.
"I was just in complete shock. I was pale, like I didn't realize what actually happened," said friend Abigail Sponsler. "My heart's aching. I can't describe it."
Sponsler was one of dozens who attended a vigil for Amanda Pierce on Davis Islands on Saturday night. Just after dark, the group lit candles, laid flowers, and released balloons to remember the 18-year-old whose life was suddenly cut short in a traffic crash.
Pierce and her friend Taylor Lazzara where on their way to Florida State University to pick up Pierce's sister for spring break. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Pierce swerved to avoid hitting another car on Interstate 10 when she lost control of her car and slammed into a tree.
Lazzara survived the crash with several bumps, bruises, and an injured knee.
"She was always smiling," said a visibly shaken Lazzara, who attended the vigil for Pierce, but left early after being overcome with grief.
Nearly everyone at the vigil described Piece as a teenager with a smile that could light up a room and a soul that impacted the lives of those around her.
"It just makes realize on how many hearts she touched and how many people loved her," said Sponsler.
This is not the first death of a student from Plant High School. Back in 2008, Allyson Faulk was killed in a traffic crash while on her way to a college game at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
"It's always hard to lose your kids. I'm a principal to 2,300 students and a father of four. It doesn't get any easier," said Plant High School Principal Rob Nelson.
Plant High School is on spring break next week, but Nelson said grief counselors will be hand when students return in just over a week to help students deal with the tragedy of losing a friend.