JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Family and friends of local basketball star Alicia Gladden are still in mourning this week after she died in a fiery car crash in Avondale on Friday night.
She was driving on Roosevelt Boulevard when she was hit by another car, which witnesses say was speeding. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office says both Gladden and the other driver were pronounced dead at the scene. A passenger in the other car was transported to the hospital in critical condition.
Police say there are early signs that the person driving the car that hit Gladden had been drinking.
"We're kind of always looking at the doorway for her to somehow come here,” Gladden’s father David tells our partner Action News. “It's been very difficult just to know I won't see her again.”
Gladden was a basketball star at Orange Park High and Florida State University, where she holds the record for steals.
“We’re still trying to get over the shock,” David Gladden says.
Alicia Gladden also played professional in Poland, Belgium and Romania before returning home last year and becoming the assistant basketball coach for the Lady Knights at Creekside High School.
Grief counselors were available there on Monday to help students through the grieving process.
"What a bright star, great athlete but even a better person," said J. Randy Johnson, Creekside High School principal. “She helped us earn a district championship.”
As Gladden’s family and friends try to cope with her loss, her father hopes her legacy will live on.
"She believed in sharing the ball and getting all her teammates involved. Instead of being a player that is selfish, she wanted everyone to experience the feeling of being a part of the team," David Gladden says.
Her funeral will be this Friday at Orange Park Christian Center. The entire Lady Knights basketball team plans to attend.
The family has also set up the Alicia Gladden Memorial Fund for anyone that wants to donate to help with funeral expenses. Donations can be made at any Wells Fargo branch.