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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

20-year-old dead after West University Avenue crash


A 20-year-old woman died and a 19-year-old man was injured in a single-vehicle crash Thursday evening on West University Avenue, according to a Florida traffic crash report. 

Authorities responded to the 2600 block of West University Avenue just after 8 p.m. and found a vehicle on the sidewalk compressed against a guardrail, according to the report. The vehicle appeared to have also crashed into a light pole. 

The accused driver, Adam Mandel, a 19-year-old UF student, appeared to not understand why law enforcement or fire rescue were on the scene, according to the report. He claimed he had parked along the side of the road, and the damage on his vehicle was old. 

Mandel was given a traffic citation in December 2018 for careless driving a couple blocks away from this weekend’s crash, according to court records. He was ordered on Feb. 13 to complete a driver improvement course and to write two letters to the judge after visiting two roadside memorials, and he was fined $209.

Mandel was sweating profusely, and his pupils appeared to be larger than normal, according to the report.

Mandel was transported to UF Health Shands Hospital as a trauma alert. Passenger Kassandra “Kassy” Guzman-Ramirez died at the scene of the crash. 

Traffic homicide investigators are still looking into what caused the fatal crash. 

A GoFundMe page created by Kathy Savastano Vazquez, Guzman-Ramirez’s aunt, has raised more than $10,000 for Guzman-Ramirez’s funeral expenses. The current goal is listed at $15,000. 

Savastano Vasquez said Guzman-Ramirez was an artist since grade school and painted canvasses of her family. She was not a student in Gainesville and moved from Weston to live with her boyfriend. She also turned 20 years old last month.

“She was just full of life, always, no matter what was going on with her. I mean her world could be spinning around, and she was just smiling,” Vasquez said. “She’s a bright ray of sunshine.”

Contact Stephany Matat at Follow her on Twitter @stephanymatat.

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