Community supports crash victim’s family

Jonathan Riley, 18, was a West Orange High student from Ocoee. He crashed and then died while driving in the early morning Feb. 8.

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  • | 6:35 p.m. February 12, 2016
Jonathan Riley was an avid fan of his West Orange Warriors.
Jonathan Riley was an avid fan of his West Orange Warriors.
  • West Orange Times & Observer
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OCOEE  Florida Highway Patrol personnel investigated a one-car crash at about 3:08 a.m. Feb. 8 on Roberson Road near Wesmere Parkway.

They determined the car had struck a power pole and then a tree before it flipped over but did not know why. Jonathan Riley, 18, was the only occupant and died in the incident.

The family of Riley, a West Orange High student, received an outpour of support from hundreds in the community. Taylor Rossmoore created a GoFundMe campaign when he learned of the death of Riley, the younger brother of one of his best friends, Trevor.

“It’s very saddening and heart-aching to hear this type of news from a family that was so loving and outgoing,” Rossmoore said. “If you are from and around the West Orange County area and know Johnny Riley and the Riley family, you know that they are hurting right now. I don’t think that this loving family should have to be pained anymore by having to also pay for what happened.”

Rossmoore announced the memorial on behalf of the Rileys, who asked attendees to wear white instead of black. Supporters crafted wristbands for the Feb. 11 memorial at Woodlawn Funeral Home and asked those who knew Jonathan to upload pictures of him to a Google Drive folder.

By the time of the Chinese lantern release in memory of Jonathan that afternoon, most of the $14,000 Rossmoore set as the goal had been raised. Within a week of the campaign’s start, it had surpassed that goal, thanks to donations from 277 people.

“The Riley family is overwhelmed by the donations and gratitude shown by the West Orange community, and the Riley family plans on using a small portion of the donations to fund the memorial and funeral,” Rossmoore said. “The excess donations not used for the services will be going towards a foundation that the Rileys are planning.”

Friends said Jonathan was a passionate supporter of his high school’s athletics, especially the lacrosse team for which he played, and he always smiled and had a joke to leave them laughing. He also played football for the West Orange Wildcats.

“From seeing everyone from (high school) to friends to coaches to teachers, when people come together for a common cause we can achieve anything,” Rossmoore said. “I am proud of everyone that was strong enough and strong-willed enough to support the Riley family in the matter that they did. I’ve never seen a stronger community than the West Orange community.”

To view the GoFundMe campaign, go to


Contact Zak Kerr at [email protected].


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