It’s been nearly three months since two St. Lucie County teens, Santia Feketa and Britney Poindexter, were killed in a car crash by a wrong way, elderly driver in an RV.
For the first time, the father of Santia Feketa is opening up about what he credits to having the strength to cope with the unthinkable loss of his daughter.
Stewart Feketa’s life has had many ups and downs.
But inside the St. Lucie County Jail, he said he was able to turn his life around in time to better prepare him for his toughest obstacle yet.
Every week for the last eight years, Feketa has made his way through the security and the guards at the jail, to a quaint chapel in the back of the jail.
He preaches to inmates, knowing exactly what they’re going through. He once sat amongst them.
“You need to get right with God. You need to get yourself right in your heart,” Feketa told them Friday night.
In 2005, he sat in the chapel, defeated, and angry after years of trouble and struggles.
“December 10, 1980, that's where I first encountered death. I was 10-years-old,” Feketa said.
From a young age, he told inmates he started drinking and doing drugs. He experienced the suicide of a girlfriend, the death of a young son, amongst many other struggles.
He could tell his life story for hours and only scratch the surface.
But there’s a message he tells the inmates about when his life turned around.
“My life got saved in jail,” Feketa said.
It was in that jail chapel that he became strong in his faith. He became sober. He became a family man.
Santia was only about 5-years-old at the time, and he was able to be a good father to her, and remain strong in his faith.
Had he not sat in that jail chapel, he knows he would not have had the strength to accept the news he was dealt early this year. A state trooper knocked on his door.
“Santia is dead. That’s what he said to me.”
“It didn’t really hit me hard until I ... drove to the scene, and saw the scene. That’s when I came unwound.”
But he knows things would be different today had he not had his strong faith.
“We wouldn’t be talking today, that would have been the end of it,” Feketa said.
Now as he continues to preach, he believes more than ever that every obstacle he’s faced has a purpose.
“I mean these people that come in this room, I see people turning their lives around and overcome the impossible that has happened in my life, let me tell you, it’s real."
He’s now determined to give Santia a legacy, by creating a scholarship in her name.
A fundraiser will be held at Big Apple Pizza in Fort Pierce to raise money for the scholarship.
Sponsors have paid to have people keep their hands on a car as long as possible, with the winner getting the vehicle.
Proceeds that night will also go toward the scholarship.
The fundraiser is Wednesday, May 23 at 4 p.m.