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Vigil held for well-known Strawberry Festival volunteers who died in car crash

Thousands in Plant City paid their respects to Randy and Jill Scott and her sister, Judy Cook. Their funeral is scheduled for Tuesday morning.

PLANT CITY, Fla. — Randy and Jill Scott and her sister, Judy Cook, had a wide impact on the Plant City community.

It was never more evident than when thousands turned out at the Florida Strawberry Festival Teco Building for a vigil to honor their memory.

Randy and Jill Scott and Judy Cook had been active volunteers of the Florida Strawberry Festival for decades. Randy was the voice of the event, singing the national anthem each morning.

"Randy and Jill Scott and Judy Cook meant so much to all of us here at the Florida Strawberry Festival," Festival President Kyle Robinson said. 

Acknowledging the size of the crowd Monday, Robinson said, "The line keeps getting longer and longer and it's a testament to the kind of people that they were."

Their pastor, DeWayne Howard of GraceWay Church agreed with Robinson, saying, "This community loves these three so much. In fact, I’d say by the time the night is over there will literally be thousands of people who will walk through those doors to say their goodbyes and pay their respects."

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, May 23, at First Baptist Church of Plant City to honor Randy, Jill and Judy.

Robinson said a discussion is ongoing as to how the three will be honored at next year's festival. It has not been determined yet how they will do that.

The collision happened a week ago in Manatee County, at the intersection of Jim Davis Road and the county road, otherwise known as Rutland Road.

A 59-year-old man driving a dump truck was heading west on County Road 675 as he entered a curve in the road while the three people in the SUV – Randy, Jill and Judy – were going east on the same road also entering the curve, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

That's when the dump truck drifted onto the north shoulder of the road, troopers said. The truck driver reportedly grabbed the steering wheel to jerk the dump truck in a left direction, crossed the roadway in front of the SUV and entered the south shoulder.

The SUV reportedly swerved right to avoid hitting the dump truck, but the front of the dump truck collided with the front of the SUV on the south shoulder. 

Everyone but the dump truck driver was pronounced dead at the scene, troopers said.

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