• Pulse nightclub attack survivor dies in Orange County head-on crash

    By: Jason Kelly , Cuthbert Langley


    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - One of two women who died Monday in a head-on crash on the GreeneWay was a survivor of the Pulse nightclub shooting, Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan told Channel 9's Shannon Butler on Tuesday.

    Sheehan described Jahqui Sevilla as a good person and a private woman who was starting to get her life back together after the June 12, 2016, attack.

    The 20-year-old Orlando woman was leaving the club last year when Omar Mateen began shooting. Sevilla, her friend, Paula Blanco, and Blanco's boyfriend, Cory Connell, hid behind a couch.

    In the hours after the attack, Sevilla told Channel 9's Roy Ramos that she carried Connell out of the club after he had been shot, but he died.

    Read: FHP: 2 women die in head-on crash on GreeneWay in Orange County

    Raw: FHP: 2 women die in head-on crash on GreeneWay in Orange County

    Troopers said Sevilla was driving south on State Road 417 near University Boulevard at about 12:30 a.m. Monday when she lost control of her Mitsubishi Lancer, crossed the median and crashed head-on into a northbound Dodge Durango driven by Soroya Matias-Roth, 53, of Lakeland.

    The collision killed both women, investigators said.

    "I did a lot of crying before you got here. I did a lot of crying last night," said Benijno Sevilla, Jahqui Sevilla's father. "She likes to make people laugh. She has a beautiful smile, beautiful cheeks."

    Troopers said they're still trying to determine whether alcohol was a factor in the crash.

    Photos: Fatal crash on SR 417 in Orange County

    © 2019 Cox Media Group.
    © 2019 Cox Media Group.

    Sevilla's father said his daughter's recovery was long after the Pulse shooting, but she made progress.

    "I was appreciative of the fact we had time. I was glad that she was fortunate enough to survive Pulse. And I appreciate the time after it and I always appreciate hugging and kissing her and telling her how much I love her," he said.

    Barbara Poma, the nightclub's owner, posted a tribute to Sevilla Tuesday on Facebook.

    Sevilla and other survivors of the mass shooting rode earlier this year on a tribute float in the 2017 Rose Parade in Pasadena, California.

    Sevilla was an athlete who played for the Orlando Anarchy women's football team.

    The crash remains under investigation.



    © 2019 Cox Media Group.

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