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15-year-old Florida girl killed attempting to qualify for first race
Niokoa Johnson
A 15-year-old girl died Sunday from injuries she sustained the day before while racing at Bubba Raceway Park off Gainesville Road north of Ocala.

Niokoa Johnson was conducting a time trial in a race-ready Nissan Sentra at around 6:30 p.m. Saturday. This was her first time on the track and she was the only driver on the track when the crash occurred, according to a Marion County Sheriff's Office news release.

Witnesses reported she was making a second lap toward the north end of the track when she lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a concrete barrier.

The teenager was unconscious when racetrack workers and others pulled her from the vehicle.

She was taken to Ocala Regional Medical Center where her condition was stabilized, then flown by helicopter to UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville.

On Sunday, word of the crash and of Niokoa's death circulated on social media as numerous friends and family mourned the teen.

The Facebook page for the racetrack at 9050 NW Gainesville Road carried this post: “It is with a heavy heart that all of us from Bubba Raceway Park pass on our continued prayers and deepest condolences to the family of Niokoa Johnson. ... Please keep Niokoa and her entire family in your prayers for strength and guidance during this difficult and sorrowful time.”

A fundraiser begun on the website FundRazr.com had a goal of $5,000 to help the family offset funeral expenses.

The Sheriff's Office will continue to look into this incident as an accidental death investigation, the agency said.

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