BROOKSVILLE — Every time she closes her eyes, Skyler Nicholle Collins is taken back to Sunday evening, her boyfriend lying in the middle of a county road, clinging to life, and her screams piercing the air.
In these harrowing flashbacks, Collins is staggered by her injuries, and Enrique Daniel Acevedo is bleeding to death on the pavement as their three attackers speed off in her red convertible 2001 Ford Mustang.
She remembers feeling helpless.
Several days later, not much had changed.
"I try not to think about it," Collins said. "But it comes back no matter what."
Collins shared her memories of those final moments on Thursday, three days after authorities arrested three suspects in the fatal stabbing and carjacking of Acevedo near the intersection of Ayers and Culbreath roads, south of Brooksville.
Also Thursday, the Sheriff's Office released a pair of 911 calls that offer a three-minute glimpse into the grisly crime scene that unfolded shortly after Acevedo and Collins, both 18, drove to Emerson Road to pick up Collins' ex-boyfriend, who had called Collins asking for a ride, and two of his friends.
In the 911 calls, an unidentified female caller told a dispatcher that she saw someone sprawled in the middle of the road while driving along Culbreath about 5:40 p.m. Sunday
"There's a guy lying in the road," she said. "And he's bleeding."
That was Acevedo, who had just been stabbed twice in the back of the neck while another one of the passengers choked Collins until she lost consciousness, according to reports.
Collins regained consciousness when Acevedo slammed on the brakes, and the couple stumbled out of the car. Acevedo died on the side of the road before emergency responders could save his life.
Collins had ligature marks on her neck, but was discharged from the hospital later that day.
The suspects were later identified as 38-year-old Sherrie Dicus, 19-year-old Steven Wesolek and 14-year-old Sabrina Dicus, Sherrie Dicus' daughter. Sheriff Richard Nugent said Sherrie Dicus choked Collins, and Wesolek stabbed Acevedo.
All three suspects are homeless. They each face charges of murder, attempted murder and carjacking.
On Thursday, Collins said she had mostly recovered from her injuries but was still unable to shake memories of her boyfriend lying on the ground, blood seeping from his wounds
"I was screaming, shaking him and telling him it was going to be okay," she said. "I told him that he was going to make it and he was going to live through this."
Collins credited Acevedo with saving her life, saying that because he slammed on the brakes in the midst of the attack, they were able to bolt from the car. She said they ran about 50 feet to the intersection of Culbreath and Ayers before Acevedo collapsed.
The attackers drove off in the red convertible.
It was soon after that the woman who called 911 was driving along Culbreath and saw Acevedo in the middle of the road.
"He's lying on his chest, and the blood is just pouring," she told the 911 dispatcher. "He's moving."
Collins' screams can be heard in the background as the caller relayed a handful of details to the dispatcher. "They're on the way to help now," the dispatcher told the woman before they ended the call.
But the woman called a few minutes later to make sure that someone was on the way.
Within seconds, a paramedic arrived on the scene.
"He's getting ready to start performing CPR," the woman told the dispatcher. "He's cutting his shirt off."
But it was to no avail.
Thursday afternoon, at Brewer and Sons Funeral Home on Mariner Boulevard in Spring Hill, nearly 100 family members and friends packed into a small chapel for the first of two visitations and where Acevedo's funeral will be today. The funeral home was adorned with dozens of pictures of Acevedo from his toddler days to more recent photos of him goofing off with friends.
The only son of four children born to Aristides and Carmen Acevedo of Spring Hill, "Ricky" was remembered as an easygoing and generous teen who loved to tinker with cars and care for stray dogs and cats.
"He was a person who did a lot of favors for people," said Nestor Baez, a friend of the family. "All that he had was for everybody else."
That wasn't lost on others who attended the viewing, some of whom noted that he died trying to help out his girlfriend and a group of people he didn't know.
"That was so typical of Ricky," said Lori Aleo, Acevedo's seventh-grade history teacher at Fox Chapel Middle School. "It was the first thing I thought of when I heard the news."
Joel Anderson can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 754-6120.