TAMPA — Troopers identified the victim of a fiery single-car crash on I-275 earlier this week as Nicole Kristine Gaskins, a 45-year-old mother of two from Wesley Chapel.
Gaskins was driving a 2003 Honda Accord north on the interstate Monday evening, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Then at about 7 p.m., just past the N Nebraska Avenue overpass, her Honda started drifting off the roadway, troopers said. Then it crashed into a utility pole on the shoulder and caught fire. She died at the scene, troopers said.
Born Nicole Kristine Bebell, she moved with her family to the Tampa Bay area from Sandusky, Ohio, when she was 10, her mother said Friday evening.
Jeanne Eror said she was struck by how close her daughter remained with friends, who in the days after the crash came to visit the family from all corners of the country.
Gaskins was a mother to two children: Olivia, 17 and Evan, 14, Eror said. She had also helped raise her 18-year-old cousin Krystian.
“The family is just devastated. She will be missed forever," said Eror, who lives in Clearwater Beach.
Gaskins was working at Bath and Body Works in Brandon, her mother said. She remembered her daughter as intelligent and funny.
“She could make anyone laugh, but she laughed at herself more than anyone.”