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Phylicia Bernard, 17 -- Car Accident

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Phylicia Jessica Bernard, a senior at Southridge High, was running late Wednesday morning as she neared school in her Chrysler sedan -- the one her father gave her as a gift.

Nearby at 230th Street and 107th Avenue, police say, an alert neighbor spotted three men trying to break into a home.

Minutes later, Bernard and the alleged burglars crossed paths, with fatal consequences.

Police say the alleged burglars, riding in a 1998 Gold Lincoln Navigator, blew through a stop sign and plowed into Bernard's Chrysler. The crash happened next to Southridge High at Southwest 114th Avenue and 192nd Street.

Bernard was airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital, where she was pronounced dead -- less than three months shy of her 18th birthday.

One suspected burglar was detained; two others escaped on foot and remain at large.

Bernard's car was crushed. The Navigator collapsed the chain-link fence of a nearby home, which belonged to a Southridge English teacher.

The one suspect detained has not been charged with a crime, Miami-Dade police said. Detectives are looking for the two other men. One is described as 5-foot-4, about 180 pounds, who wore a blue T-shirt with red shorts. The other is about 6-foot-2, 200 pounds and wore a black shirt and jeans.

At Southridge, grief counselors were made available. Some teachers switched on the news inside class; other classes prayed in silence.

Classmates and teachers described Bernard as a cheerful, friendly and well-liked teen.

Bernard took classes in the morning. In the afternoon, she worked at a Target store as part of a program that allows students to split their day between work and school.

She recently had been promoted to cashier at the fast-food counter. She was scheduled to work 12.5 hours this weekend.

Her supervisor, Gladys Burgos, 28, described Bernard: ``She was so friendly. She was really, really, extremely nice.''

When she wasn't working, Bernard spent time with her boyfriend and ran track and cross-country. She was a member of an anti-drug awareness club called DFY-IT.



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