Friends and family are paying tribute to a Florida teen who tragically lost his life in a school bus crash earlier this week. The accident occurred while the teen, identified as high school senior Sherman Vannoy, was riding his bike to Lake Minneola High School just before 7 a.m. local time on Monday, as reported by the Florida Highway Patrol.
The heartfelt vigil took place on Thursday night, which also marked what would have been Sherman Vannoy’s 18th birthday. During the event, Vannoy’s mother expressed her gratitude. “The support has been overwhelming, and we’re all grateful. I don’t even have all the words,” she said to NBC affiliate WESH.
‘He was everybody’s friend’
Speaking to WESH, Josue Santana, a friend of the victim, said, “He was Sherman. He was somebody who could not be replicated or changed. He was everybody’s friend, everybody’s buddy. No matter who you were, you could be friends with Sherman.”
For his friends and classmates, the hallways of Lake Minneola High School haven’t been the same since. “We look tired. You can see we’re tired because that’s someone who meant so much to us,” expressed Amber Walker, a friend of the teen. “We’re looking at a young man that – no matter what was going on – he looked like he always saw the glass as half full, not half empty. He was always having fun with his friends, enjoying life,” Jadelly Rivera, the mother of Sherman’s girlfriend, reflected.
In memory of Sherman Vannoy, the students and staff throughout the Lake County school district wore purple clothes, as per the Lake Minneola High School district. They also came together to sign a card in remembrance of what would have been his 18th birthday and “sang happy birthday in his honor during the morning announcements.” Speaking of his 18th birthday celebrations, Rivera shared, “I’m still making the food that I was planning on making him, we still did the decorations we were going to do for him. We’re still honoring him no matter what.”
The bus driver will no longer work for the school district
A 78-year-old bus driver was attempting to make a left turn into the high school when the tragedy occurred. Sherman was reportedly crossing the road at that time, according to the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP). The bus driver ‘swerved’ in an attempt to avoid Sherman but was unsuccessful. Sherman was taken to South Lake Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The bus driver did not suffer any injuries.
Following the fatal crash on Monday, the bus driver has been placed on leave and will no longer drive for the school district, as reported by ABC affiliate WFTV. An investigation into the accident is ongoing. Additionally, a GoFundMe page has been set up to support Vannoy’s family, and it has raised over $26,000 as of Friday afternoon.