ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. -- A UNF student killed in a crash less than an hour after ringing in the New Year was laid to rest Monday, and for the first time we are hearing from her boyfriend who survived the accident.
Wearing a neck brace, Jacob Materia attended the funeral near Longwood of his girlfriend, 20-year-old Dara Kusiv.
"It's been rough, emotionally, physically, it's been really hard on me, but fortunately I have my family, friends and faith to help me get through it. If it wasn't for that I don't know how I would still be here right now," said Materia.
Dozens gathered at Annunciation Catholic Church to pay their final respects to Kusiv. She died when the pickup truck she was riding in suddenly ran off the road on Beach Boulevard in Jacksonville, striking a large overhead sign post just before 1 New Year's morning.
Materia said he doesn't remember the crash or anything from New Year Eve's including where they had been earlier in the evening. While he said he had only been dating Kusiv for two months, he has this message for her.
"Dara I just found out from your best friend Beth you wanted me to say I love you first and that you loved me, so Dara I love you and will miss you," said Materia.
As for Kusiv's parents, they say even though her life was short, it was full.
"There are regrets that she died so young, but no regrets about the years she spent here on earth," said Randy Kusiv.
"She will always be alive in our hearts. She will be with us all the time watching over us," said Lynn Kusiv.
Kusiv's friend Samantha Kasten who was also in the crash remains in critical condition at a Jacksonville hospital. The driver of the pickup truck they were in, Sean Franke, has been released from Shands.
Police have not released a cause of the crash.
First Coast News