Fiery crash kills St. Croix woman

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ST. CROIX - A fiery blaze erupted in the darkness along Queen Mary Highway early Friday morning after a single car collided with a utility pole and trees, killing the 22-year-old driver.

V.I. Police spokeswoman Melody Rames said police are investigating the single-car accident that resulted in the death of Janessa Armstrong, who was driving and was the sole occupant.

Rames said the accident occurred just west of the Whim Museum on the Queen Mary Highway just before 1 a.m.

Armstrong was driving a 2006 Toyota Corolla westbound on the highway when she veered off the road and hit a utility pole and trees at the shoulder of the westbound lane, police said.

Evidence of the impact of the fiery blaze could be seen in the area, as the low vegetation was scorched, the tree near where the car came to rest was blackened and scorched and pieces of automobile debris littered the ground.

The vehicle burst into flames upon impact with the woman inside, Rames said. Two residents in the area pulled Armstrong out of the vehicle, but when emergency medical technicians arrived on the scene, they reported that she had no vital signs and later was pronounced dead.

Rames said no other individuals were injured as a result of the crash and no other property damage was reported.

On Friday, family and friends described Armstrong, who was an intern for the V.I. Elections System, as a vibrant and creative individual.

Deputy Elections Supervisor Genevieve Whitaker said that the management and staff of the Elections System, as well as the members of the boards of Elections, expressed heartfelt sympathies regarding Armstrong's passing.

She said Armstrong was a student at the University of the Virgin Islands and served as an intern in the St. Croix district office for several weeks up until the time of her passing.

"May God be with the family and friends of Janessa at this difficult time," she said. "She brought joy to this office and her smile and dedication to her work will always be remembered."

Rames said members of the Crime Prevention Unit and the St. Croix police cadets expressed their condolences when they heard of Armstrong's death because she had served with them as a police cadet for three years and was an employee of the department's Weed and Seed program.

V.I. Police Officer Samuel Gittens, who mentors the police cadets said Armstrong was a "cheerful and loving young lady," who had a "desire to leave a positive mark wherever she went." He said the entire department extends their heartfelt sympathies to her family, friends and loved ones.

Rames said officers from the Traffic Enforcement Bureau are investigating the crash.

- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email

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