Michelle Seville and Bobby Powell Jr. had been putting off going out to lunch since they saw each other during this year’s Homecoming weekend.
“When I saw her on the strip, I thought she left Tallahassee after graduation. I wanted to get her phone number then but didn’t have any paper and she didn’t have her cell phone with her,” Powell recalls.
Seville and Powell, both 23, crossed paths again Sunday on the Ronald Reagan Turnpike on their way back from Palm Beach after a Thanksgiving holiday, unbeknownst to either of them.
“When I passed by the cars, I saw yellow bags in the backseat and hoped that it wasn’t someone from FAMU,” Powell said.
Upon his arrival in Tallahassee, Powell discovered that his fears came to fruition.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, while Seville was traveling northbound on the Turnpike Sunday afternoon the car she and two other women were riding in experienced a blown tire and swerved into the southbound lane striking another car head-on.
According to reports from the Tallahassee Democrat and The Palm Beach Post, Seville and her sister Marsha Seville, 18, died in the crash while the other passenger, Eustacia Callendar, 23, of Miami, died in a hospital in Fort Pierce later that evening. The reports also said two of the passengers in the car Seville’s collided with also died at the scene of the accident while an infant died in a hospital in Melbourne, and left two other passengers in serious condition.
Powell said he and Michelle graduated from Palm Beach Gardens High School in Palm Beach Gardens in 1999. They again shared their graduation day last December from Florida A&M University.
The Sevilles’ mother, Pauline, said Michelle became a third grade teacher at the School of Arts and Sciences Academy in August. She said Marsha, a freshman at FAMU, was considering studying journalism.
Callendar, of Miami, was also a FAMU alumna.
The Seville sisters leave behind a host of loving relatives including their father, Michael, along with two brothers, a 12-year-old and Michael, who is also a student at FAMU studying at psychology.
Although Pauline Seville is mourning the loss of her daughters, she said she is comforted by the happy memories she has of their lives.
“They enjoyed modeling and had just gone on their first photo shoot together,”
Powell said although he and Seville were friends, he would not be attending the funeral.
“It’s a long ride and to make that ride by yourself is a hard trip. With this kind of accident happening, it puts in your mind that things like this can happen on the road. That’s why I pray every time I get on the road,” Powell explained.
Still, Powell remembers Michelle as a dedicated friend that will be missed by those who knew her.
“She was a good person and it is a hard loss. She was the type of person that would look out for you if you needed something,” said Powell as he recalled another time when death entered his life.
“When my mom died, I told her about it and she called me a bunch of times to make sure I was straight,” said Powell, whose mother died in the summer of 2001.
Pauline Seville said she is depending on the closeness of her family to get her through this time of loss.
“I hope that something positive can come out of this tragedy,” she said while fighting back tears.