JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Mandarin Road is a charming two lane stretch of twist, turns, and magnificent oak trees; but behind its beauty, there's danger.
Around 2:45 a.m. Friday morning Alex Pepple died in a single-car collision on Mandarin Road.
Friends of Pepple are trying to cope with his passing. Some of them placed flowers near a tree, the spot where he died.
"He was just the funniest kid, always sarcastic always happy," said Emina Rovcanin.
Rovcanin said they have been friends from high school, best friends. She said his loss is too much for her to bear.
Justin Lemminn met Pepple through his brother so he came to the scene of the accident to share his condolences
"It was great to see him happy the last time I saw him," he said.
Lemminn said he had seen Pepple a few hours earlier.
"I was with him at the Jaguars draft party last night at the stadium and it was really a shock to me this morning," said Lemminn.
Pepple was a sports management major at UNF, Class of 2014
"He said he wanted to work for the Jaguars," said Rovcanin, "he loved the Jaguars, he might have been their biggest fan."
According to police, the impact of the collision was so severe that Pepple was ejected from the vehicle despite the fact that he was wearing his seat belt.
"He's gonna be missed," she said, "there's nobody that doesn't love him."
Coach Jason Cooley worked with Pepple off and on for ten years. He was his soccer coach.
"Alex brings a smile to everyone's face," said Cooley.
Cooley said the former Mandarin High student was exceptional on and off the field.
"He's the kind of person you want to be with," said Cooley.
On April 3, Pepple celebrated his 21st birthday.
"I said to my friend 'heaven has one great Jaguar fan up,'" said Lemminn.
Pepple is survived by his father Robert, his mother Irene and big brother Evan.
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office spokesperson Melissa Bujeda said the cause of the accident is an ongoing active investigation.
Bujeda said at this time, investigators believe speed and alcohol are contributing factors to the crash.
First Coast News