TAMPA — University of South Florida Polytechnic student Alejandro "Alex" Solis spent Saturday living the college version of royalty.
Solis, a senior double majoring in finance and management at the school's Lakeland campus, stood before Bulls fans at Raymond James Stadium after being named Polytechnic's Homecoming Lord, the school's version of homecoming king.
Approaching the field, he text messaged his fiance in the bleachers, "Stand up!" he jokingly ordered her so he could see her. And, later, "I love you."
What began as "a blast'' of a day came to a sudden end that night, his fiancee said.
Solis, 23, died Sunday, following a morning car accident in Hardee County, his family said.
Fiancee Priscella Ybarra, 22, said they were going home after a day of celebrating when the accident occurred about 3 a.m. on Highway 17 in Bowling Green.
The father of two — 11-month-old Seann Alejandro and 4-year-old Alejandro Isaiah — expected to graduate in December and had just been selected "Outstanding Senior," an honor bestowed for academic excellence and campus and community involvement.
Ybarra said she doesn't know what happened that night.
After homecoming, the couple went to Wing House with friends. Later, they all drove back to Bartow and regrouped with friends and went to a club in Palmetto until about 1 a.m.
Ybarra said she was the designated driver since Solis had been drinking. When the accident happened, she was driving their Ford Explorer and he was in the second row of seats.
They had just dropped friends off, and he said he wanted to get out. The door opened and he was gone. "I thought he was playing around," she said. "This was just not supposed to happen."
Solis and Ybarra dated since eighth grade at Hardee Junior High. While they didn't plan their first child, Ybarra said the desire to provide for his children inspired him to achieve.
"He was the best dad ever," Ybarra said, launching into a litany of chores he did without complaint. "He said he was doing all this for his boys," Ybarra said.
At USFP, Solis was involved in Student Government Association and Delta Sigma Pi. He was an assistant manager of Ybarra's hair salon, Priscella's Fabulous Touch.
A wake is set for Friday from 6-8 p.m. at Robarts Family Funeral Home, 529 W Main St. in Wauchula. The funeral will be at 8:30 a.m. Saturday there.