USF student overcoming physical challenges after serious car accident

The accident, caused by a semitruck going southbound on I-75, left Jaykwon Hosey with several injuries and took the life of alumna and Hosey’s girlfriend, Jhanae Ingraham. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE

In a span of seconds, the life of a USF student changed drastically after being involved in a car accident when driving southbound on I-75. Despite the tragedy, he is doing his best to stay positive and courageously endure his new reality.

Senior Jaykwon Hosey got into a car accident on June 24 that left him in critical condition and tragically took the life of his girlfriend, Jhanae Ingraham.

The accident was caused by a semitruck driver, leading to a nine-car pileup that was fatal for two passengers, including Ingraham who was a 2018 USF alumna and master’s degree student at USF.

Hosey said he was left in critical condition and taken to the hospital where he was placed in a medically induced coma for about four weeks and had to endure seven surgeries. Due to his injuries, he had no recollection of the past week’s events.

“I can’t remember anything of that day or weekend,” Hosey said. “From the day I was in the hospital, I don’t remember anything that happened. I have to gather information from people who were there just throughout the whole process.”

The accident has impacted Hosey’s life in many ways, including his ability to walk.

When he is able to go to physical therapy, he will be able to slowly overcome his physical limits. However, the loss of Ingraham continues to be much more challenging to overcome.

Hosey said he is letting his emotions go through what they need to in order to heal.

“I’m allowing myself to feel all the things I want to feel and when I allow myself to feel all these things it helps me cope with her loss and absence a little bit,” Hosey said.

Hosey suffered a broken pelvis, a fractured leg, a damaged urethra and a puncture wound from a metal rod. Currently, he is in a wheelchair, but doctors have said he has strong chances of walking again, according to Hosey.

“I have been getting better every day,” he said. “It’s been rough with the small minor changes to my body and having to deal with those minor changes.”

For Hosey, each small, daily victory counts.

“[The little victories are] just being able to get to my wheelchair from my bed by myself, moving around by myself in my wheelchair, moving my legs certain ways and getting my appetite back.”

Hosey’s mother, Dafney Hosey, has been given some details about the accident that day.

“They were heading south on I-75, slowing up for another accident when a semitruck failed to slow,” Dafney said. “The truck hit nine cars. Kwon was the fifth car who suffered the most damage.”

Dafney was not even aware her son was in a car accident until someone messaged her around 5 p.m. that day saying they were sorry for her loss.

“I didn’t know what they were saying or why,” she said. “They explained that they’ve heard that Kwon was in a fatal accident. You can imagine how that was. From 5 to 7 p.m. it was all heartache as we waited on the Florida Highway Patrol to come deliver this news. When they got there, they said he was just in critical condition. That was such a relief and great hope.”

Hosey awoke from the coma in July, about four weeks after the accident. Due to COVID-19, hospital safety measures prohibited patients from receiving visitors.

“We were allowed the first day [to see him], but literally the next day the hospital added the restriction,” Dafney said. “For four weeks we had to see our son through an iPad as he laid in a coma with tubes everywhere.”

Hosey and Ingraham would have been together one year in November. Marcus Alcius, a 2018 USF graduate and former fraternity brother of Hosey, said the two were madly in love.

“If you think of the cutest puppy-love relationship, that was them,” Alcius said.

Hosey said Ingraham’s passing is a reality he is having to come to terms with.

“I still go back and look at old pictures and videos of us and try to cope with the pain I’m feeling,” Hosey said. “It still is a struggle and a process, but I’m getting through it.”

The passing of Ingraham has affected the lives of her family as well.

Ingraham’s mother, Jerometta Boutin, said that she has been in mourning since losing her middle daughter.

“We were very close and talked or FaceTimed several times a day,” Boutin said. “She was the glue for her siblings and the family’s voice of reason. I am coping the best way that I can, but I have a hard time moving forward on many things. I live right now to honor her in everything.”

In her late daughter’s honor, Boutin created The Jhanae Sunflower Foundation, a nonprofit organization that has been created to remember Ingraham, honor her legacy and continue her service of youth outreach, as she was a cheerleading coach and financial adviser, according to her mother.

Boutin said she wants people to remember the person her daughter was and all the great things she was involved in.

“Jhanae stood for so many things and she actively lived her life to give back to others,” she said. “She wanted to expand her interest once she graduated but she could not stop giving back while it appeared her plate was full. She mentored so many people and helped others when she had nothing, even if it was with her time. She ran into so many obstacles, but she was determined to do her best in everything. She was the epitome of commitment and never gave up.”

The foundation is also looking to bring awareness to the challenges that Ingraham faced as well as how fatal car accident cases are dealt with.

“Jhanae suffered from anxiety, especially from being away from family, and it made us closer. She doubted herself in everything she did and often did not feel good enough,” Boutin said. “She only shared this with a select few people, but she wrote about it daily. We also would like to bring awareness to those that are killed in semitruck accidents and there is no recourse or justice. There needs to be accountability for those that are careless drivers no matter what they are driving, especially when a life is lost.” 

The case for the accident is still open, according to Boutin, but investigators told her the least that will happen to the driver is a ticket for careless driving and the most he would face is a temporarily suspended driver’s license.

Boutin said taking action toward the driver is not something that she is currently focused on.

“For me as a mom, suing the driver is not justice,” she said. “What’s important for me is when you kill two people there is usually a court date.”

Since the driver tested negative for drugs and alcohol in his system, did not flee the scene and admitted to not having been paying attention to the road, he will not have a court date or face jail time, according to Boutin.

“He never has to face it,” Boutin said. “He just will have to live with the fact he killed two people. I would love for him to understand what his carelessness did and what we are going through.”

At present, everyone is just trying to cope and get through these difficult times.

For Hosey, he has another hurdle to face as well: medical bills.

The medical bills came out to over $1 million, according to both Hosey and his mother.

Dafney said there was no insurance coverage for the first two weeks. Now, they are relying on a fundraiser to cover the remaining costs.

Hosey’s fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., came up with the idea to start a GoFundMe page to help with the medical expenses, according to Hosey. Currently, the page has raised over $30,000.

His fraternity brothers have done more than just help via the GoFundMe. They also have been helping Hosey through his recovery.

“They all come and see me weekly almost and they support me in every way they can,” he said.

According to Alcius, the two met in a class they were taking together at USF back in 2018.

“It was a strong friendship then and still is a strong friendship today,” Alcius said.

The news of his friend’s accident was scary, according to Alcius. He said his brother called him asking if he had heard from Hosey and that he had been in a car accident, and many fraternity brothers were trying to contact him and his girlfriend, but no one could reach them.

“We were all worried and then we saw something on the news about this pileup and we were hoping that he was not involved,” he said. “We were trying to contact every hospital in the region, then his mother got the news from a state trooper. We all immediately went to the hospital. The whole lobby was filled with brothers and family members.”

Alcius said he had lost a friend to a car accident before and was not prepared to lose another. After that night at the hospital, he said he went home between 3 and 4 a.m. and cried.

Since Hosey has been home, Alcius said the fraternity brothers have been doing their best to help him in his road to recovery while he is on bed rest.

“We knew he was in pain, but he was going to be in more pain because he lost his girlfriend,” Alcius said. “His focus was to help him heal.”

He and Hosey have been able to hang out, play video games and just talk, Alcius said.

Not only are friends in Tampa impacted by the news of the accident, but people Hosey touched in other stages of his life are hoping he makes a speedy recovery.

Hosey used to attend Valencia College in Orlando, and Kevin Louidor was his roommate there in 2015.

“Kwon has always been a strong person,” Louidor said. “He has always been a mentor to me and kind of like that big brother figure, like the good angel in my ear telling me the positive side of things. It was crazy how emotional it was for me.”

He also said that the faith Hosey has in God and the person he is, Louidor knew his friend would get through the hardships.

Hosey said that his faith is stronger since being in the accident.

“I take my faith more seriously now,” he said. “I’m engaging with God in different ways. My faith in God is different, and I’m trying to realize how God is using this to better me and to use me. 

“At first, I had a lot of questions and was very frustrated and I was upset and I was angry. I haven’t had those questions answered yet and I’m still confused on that part.”

Instead of the physical recovery being the hardest part, Hosey said that mental recovery is the biggest challenge.

“Staying in the same bed in the same room every day has been annoying,” he said.

He also said he is coping with thoughts that make him feel like a failure for not being able to protect his girlfriend.

“Talking to her family has made me feel better,” he said. “They affirmed me and made me feel like it’s not my fault, that has made me feel a little better.”

Tiana Ingraham, Jhanae’s sister, said that Hosey has a special relationship with her and her loved ones.

“Jaykwon Hosey is our family,” Tiana said.

Boutin also said that her family is in contact with him during his road to recovery.

“We speak weekly and have made one visit with him in his home,” she said.

The accident has negatively impacted the lives of many, but some have seen Hosey’s strength and relentless faith and have become inspired.

“Kwon is a strong individual, great person, great man, great mentor and great friend,” Louidor said. “He had a big positive impact on my life. He brought our faith closer to God and made us stronger. Even now, his fighting continues and seeing how strong he is, from a distance, and how strong he is fighting is so inspirational to me and everyone else.”

In honor of Jhanae, her family encourages people to become involved in The Jhanae Sunflower Foundation by visiting its website and sharing the hashtag #ismilewithjhanae.

“We also want others to reach out to us and volunteer to help in any way they feel they can contribute,” Boutin said. “We are looking for events that fit into the structure of her foundation and welcome those that would like to have us come out (Tampa and Miami) [and] participate in their events.

“We really need donations in order for us to continue to give back to the community and those that need it. We are a new foundation but are working hard to keep her legacy alive and make an impact on the community as a whole. Her story is phenomenal, even at 22 years of age and we would love to share it.”

Instagram users can find her page @jhanaesunflowerfoundation to become involved and stay updated with the foundation’s events.

Besides the physical challenges Hosey is overcoming, the accident has led him to see life in a whole new way. He said that the people around him, who are keeping him positive and nursing him, are the most important in his life right now.

“It has changed the way I view life and my relationships with my friends and family,” Hosey said. “How much I value these things have changed in a way that I approach and engage with the people around me and how much appreciation I have for them. It sounds cliche, but you never know.”