How horrible! Not only did this poor 17-year-old girl die, her last moments must have been consumed by unbridled terror as one thing after another tried to kill her.
Valentina Tomashosky was driving during a thunderstorm on Sunday afternoon when the severe winds blew down a tree, right into the road. The Spring Hill, Florida teen managed to swerve to avoid a collision with the tree, but according to the Florida Highway Patrol that only put her in more jeopardy.
She drove over a broken power line that had also been knocked down in the storm, presumably by the fallen tree. The wire was still live and sparking, and as the tire of her Dodge Avenger drove over it, the electric shock somehow ignited into an inferno, engulfing the driver’s side.
As the fire spread over the car, Valentina quickly climbed into the passenger side and escaped out of that door. However, she either stepped right onto the power cable or into a puddle of water it was touching — because she was electrocuted.
The FHP’s Sgt. Steve Gaskins told WFLA:
“I think that most likely led to a panic on her part, which it would with anybody, and she probably had no concept or clue what was waiting for her on the other side of that door when she got out.”
Valentina was pronounced dead on the scene; the FHP believes she was killed instantly. At least she didn’t suffer, which is a mercy considering what a horrifying scene this must have been.
A neighbor who witnessed the improbable incident told local ABC Action News there was a loud POP above the noise of the storm, and the car immediately went up in flames. Unfortunately the danger was still there for first responders. The neighbor recounted:
“So, even when the police arrived, they couldn’t get out of the vehicle because the power was still live… so, it was devastating to watch.”
Emergency workers actually had to shut off power for the whole neighborhood for hours just to safely remove the car, the power line, the tree, and the body.
Valentina, who went by “Val,” was set to graduate this June. She was a cadet lieutenant in her high school’s Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps. Commander Christian Cruz released a statement about his student, saying:
“Val was not only an outstanding student but was a respected leader of our unit and was part of our Unarmed Exhibition team. To the cadets of Delta Company, she was a mentor and a friend. Valentina was admired for her dedication to the unit but she was loved most for her joyful spirit and her ever-present smile. Her loss is deeply felt and she will be missed.”
So terrifying. It sounds like she was amazingly brave throughout the ordeal and just got so terribly unlucky. So, so sad.
Be safe out there, everyone.
[Image via ABC Action News/YouTube.]