This past Sunday night, 26-year-old Miami Beach resident Tzvi Yeheskel Ference got into his 2009 Hyundai Accent. He drove to Florida's Turnpike, entered the southbound lanes while driving the wrong way, and crashed directly into an oncoming tractor-trailer. His car was sent careening. It landed on its roof. The tractor-trailer jackknifed and rammed into a guardrail. The driver and passenger of the truck were unharmed, but Ference was pronounced dead on the scene.
According to a note left on his Facebook page, he had planned it all out that way.
Ference told his Facebook friends Friday that he had thought about committing suicide by car crash earlier in the week but had decided against it at the last minute.
"I have major depression and have attempted suicide in the past. Sometimes life gets so overwhelming that I just want to quit. That happened Wednesday night," he wrote. "I was so overwhelmed that I made up my mind that this was it.
"I started driving down 195 from Miami Beach then headed North on 95 ready and determined to get
But Ference said he was overcome with emotion and pulled his car over. He began praying and decided to drive back home.
"That's the power of faith," he wrote. "It helps. Trust me. Hashem listens. A simple prayer. But a powerful one."
Ference was open on Facebook about his years-long struggle with depression, and last night he ended his fight with the illness by following through on his original plan. The resulting crash closed the southbound lanes of the Turnpike for several hours.
Miami: BD"E 26 y/o Tzvi Yeheskel Ference z"l killed this morning following head on collision on the Florida Turnpike pic.twitter.com/T8SSsMezYr— Yiddish News (@YiddishNews) February 22, 2016
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In the days leading up to his death, Ference also wrote on his Facebook page that he had tried to reach out for help at a local temple but was banned for security reasons.
In 2012, Ference was also the subject of a safety advisory sent to University of Miami students. The advisory described him as a former student who had been on campus harassing students and faculty. He was banned from campus, and students were advised to report any sightings of him.
According to the Sun Sentinel, Ference's 22-year-old sister, Bracha Ference, says he had battled depression since he was 16 and had been in therapy and on medication to help with the disorder.
"He definitely had been going through his ups and downs," she told the paper.