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Monday, March 04, 2024

Carmen "Cita" Peterson had a passion to explore. When she arrived on campus in 2006, she wanted to see it all: the campus landmarks, the city hot spots, the local charm.

It was all part of her zest for life, said Cory Myers, a UF engineering sophomore who met Peterson freshman year.

It's one of the qualities Myers said he would miss most about Peterson, who died Tuesday evening after she was hit by a van while riding her bicycle.

"Whenever she was out, she just had a good time," Myers said. "She really did embody living with no regrets."

Peterson was a UF recreation sports and tourism sophomore from Fort Lauderdale. She was one of the first people Myers, of Atlanta, met when he arrived on campus.

"She brought a lot of life to my first days at UF," he said.

After two years of knowing each other, Myers said Peterson's propensity to have fun continued to rub off on him.

He said her enthusiasm for Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed fraternity of which she was a member, convinced him to pledge.

"Cita was passionate about the things that she liked and the things that she did," Myers said. "She sort of showed me what it was like to really mean what you do."

About 100 friends of Peterson's, many of whom are also members of Alpha Phi Omega, held a candlelit vigil for her Wednesday night at Keys Residential Complex on campus, where Peterson lived.

Peterson's parents and roommate declined to comment.

Charges against Charles Skeen, the 55-year-old driver of the van that hit Peterson, are pending further investigation, according to a report from the Florida Highway Patrol. Peterson was attempting to cross County Road 325 on the Hawthorne Bicycle Trail when she was struck at around 5 p.m.

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She was wearing a helmet and died at the scene, according to the report.

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