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College sophomore killed in wreck

ZEPHYRHILLS — The girls were best friends and on Wednesday afternoon, they wanted to get some hot tea. It was something Hayley Mann, 20, and Jolee Tarrant, 19, liked to do together.

But on their way to a shop, Mann ran a red light at the intersection of Chancey Road and County Road 54 in Zephyrhills, the Florida Highway Patrol said. Her 2003 Toyota Echo was hit by a tow truck hauling a Jeep SUV.

Mann was taken to Tampa General Hospital in serious condition. The truck driver was not injured.

Tarrant died at the scene.

"She was very bubbly, very energetic," said her mother, Sharon Tarrant, who found out about her daughter's death Wednesday night. The family is in California. Jolee Tarrant came to the Tampa Bay area to attend Florida College, a private Christian university in Temple Terrace. That is where she and Mann met each other and lived together on campus in 2010. Mann didn't attend school there this fall, but Jolee Tarrant continued. She was a sophomore and had been living with Mann and her family in Temple Terrace during their Christmas break.

Sharon Tarrant said her daughter wanted to be a photojournalist and was a self-assured, confident young woman.

"She was very, very much her own person," she said.

Jolee Tarrant had three siblings, a 21-year-old brother and twin 17-year-old sisters. Sharon Tarrant said she has spoken with the Mann family. She said Mann was released from the hospital.

"She is home and being taken care of by her family," she said.

Mann's family was not able to be reached Thursday.

"This is quite a blow to us," said Ralph Walker, public relations and alumni director at Florida College. He said the student population is 500, so it's a small, close-knit community. He said the school hasn't lost a current student in such a sudden way for nearly 20 years, if not more.

Walker said school is back in session on Tuesday. Grief counselors will be on hand for students.

"This really, really affects them in a deep way," he said. "She was much loved by the students on campus."

There will be a memorial service for Tarrant at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Hutchinson Auditorium on campus. The address for Florida College is 119 N Glen Arven Ave.

"She seemed like she was very content and happy to be here," Walker said. "We were looking forward to her coming back."

Times researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this story. Erin Sullivan can be reached at esullivan@tampabay.com or (727) 869-6229.

College sophomore killed in wreck 01/05/12 [Last modified: Thursday, January 5, 2012 8:32pm]
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