JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A First Coast family is making plans to bury six of their loved ones after a fatal three-car crash in Nassau County Friday evening.
The crash claimed the lives of Melissa Mitchell, 39, her three children, Miya Mitchell, 11, and 4-year-old twins Christian and Keyshawn Perry. Also killed were Melissa's mother, Brenda Mitchell-Edwards, 57, and her niece Dhanja Mitchell, 16.
VICTIMS, SUSPECT IDENTIFIED IN THREE-CAR CRASH
The Florida Highway Patrol said a speeding Chevy Camaro passed the Mitchell's Nissan in the southbound lane. Once in front of the Nissan the driver of the Camaro, Pedro Alcazar, lost control of the vehicle.
The Nissan and Camaro then collided. Investigators say a truck driving northbound tried to avoid the red Nissan, but hit it.
Pedro, 38, faces six counts of vehicular homicide charges.
Alcazar's wife, Ashley Merritt, said she heard about the accident very early Saturday morning. Merritt said she spoke with her husband around 3:30 a.m. Saturday. He told her his tire blew out, causing him to swerve as he was passing the Nissan.
Alcazar's neighbors say they believe the crash was an accident, not a result of careless driving.
"I doubt he would do anything like that intentionally, so I'm sure it was an accident," said neighbor Kyle Bolin. Bolin lives next door to Alcazar's parents and said Pedro, who he calls "Pete," is a nice guy.
"He's a well mannered guy. I mean he's always one to try to help out his buddy," Bolin said. "Every time I've ever needed anything, if I'm working on a bicycle or something next door, he's always come over and helped me."
Bolin also said Pete was a safe driver when he would visit his parents in the neighborhood. But a stack of past traffic citations suggests a driving record that's questionable at best.
Still, his wife said, Alcazar's Camaro that sits in Seldomridge Towing in Hilliard holds the proof that a tire-blowout may have been the cause.
Lt. Bill Leeper with FHP would not comment on the allegations, saying the accident is still under investigation. He did, however, say that there was evidence to charge Alcazar on the scene.
That evidence might be anything from witness statements to articles found on the scene.
Monique Mitchell, whose mother, sister and daughter were killed in the crash, said a benefit account to help pay for funeral expenses has been set up for the family with VyStar Credit Union. The account is in the name of the Mitchell-Perry family, account #702814864.
First Coast News