A community is brokenhearted following the recent death of a 17-year-old girl.
Sariyah Robertson of Lake Park was one of three teens in a car that lost control this week in West Palm Beach.
For years, Mavis Pettway and Dalila Gonzalez have served as mentors, providing guidance as part of the Inner City Innovators.
They said one young life they will never forget is Robertson.
The teen died early Monday in a car crash along North Congress Avenue in West Palm Beach. She was one of three teens in a car that hit a light pole. The other two teens survived the wreck.
“I sat in her driveway for a good 25 minutes before I could even bring myself to go to that door,” Mavis Pettway, Robertson’s mentor, said.
Pettway said instead of being a mentor she entered “mother mode” to comfort the Robertson family.
“I’m a mother too, and to know that I am about to go knock on this door to speak to a mother that’s going through such a hardship,” Pettway said. “It was one of the hardest things I had to do in this role.”
Pettway and Gonzalez describe the 17-year-old as kind-hearted and selfless someone who knew her life’s purpose was to provide for her loved ones.
“She loved her family. She was honored to be a big sister and a daughter,” Gonzalez said. “She put her everything into those roles in her life.”
Both mentors spoke with Robertson weekly. Now they struggle knowing they won’t hear her voice anymore. The tragedy comes just months before the teen would have graduated high school.
“She was ready for the [holiday] break. I said, ‘How are your grades? I know grades go in next week.’ She was like, ‘Ms. Mavis, they’re good. I’m just ready for the break. I’m just ready to be off school for two weeks,'” Pettway said.
Gonzalez called Robertson a “precious, precious person.”
Police said the teens who survived the crash said they were trying to avoid hitting a pickup truck traveling the wrong way.
Investigators asked anyone with any information on the crash to call the West Palm Beach Police Department.