UF student, girlfriend killed in fiery one-car crash

Published: Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 12:15 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 12:15 p.m.

A University of Florida student and his girlfriend were killed early Tuesday in a single-vehicle crash after their car struck a tree, flipped upside down and burst into flames, police said.

Dead are Brandon James Mead, 22, a senior math major, and his girlfriend, Ashlee Elizabeth Lightner, 26, according to Gainesville Police Department Officer Ben Tobias.

Right after 1 a.m., officers responded to a report of a crash at the intersection of Southwest 24th Avenue and Southwest 38th Terrace. When officers arrived, they found a black Nissan 300Z up against a tree, upside down and engulfed in flames that reached 30 feet in the air, Tobias said.

Alachua County Fire Rescue responded to the scene and extinguished the fire, revealing the two bodies. Police said a preliminary investigation revealed that Mead was driving west on Southwest 24th Avenue at a high speed when he hit the roundabout, left the roadway on the opposite side of the intersection and then struck a large oak tree, Tobias said.

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