Father gains custody after deadly alcohol-related crash

Jason Rantala reports. 10/26/2016

YULEE, Fla. - The father of three of the children involved in a deadly crash Saturday is now in custody of his surviving daughter.

FHP says 33-year-old Tonya Capallia-Eason was drinking before the crash that killed two children and injured 6 others.

The decision came down from a Nassau County judge Wednesday morning during an emergency child custody hearing.

Andre Bird is the father of the 9-year-old Nicholai Capallia and 8-year-old Nehemiah Capallia-Bird who both died in the crash.

His hope Wednesday, to bring their bodies back to where he lives in Michigan, and to gain temporary custody of 7-year-old daughter Nina Capallia.

"I'm hoping to be able to take my kids home, get Nina back home and start the healing process if we can even do that," said the father, Andrew Bird.

Tonya Capallia-Eason walked into court, seemingly showing no emotion and wearing a bandage on her left hand.

The court had one final matter to settle Wednesday regarding the findings of a Florida Department of Children and Families employee, who interviewed Capallia-Eason at the hospital after the accident.

"She admitted to me that she had two drinks, two shots and three or four pudding shots prior to getting in the vehicle with the children," said Katrina Bearden with DCF.

Within moments came the ruling from the judge. He used the words "staggering tragedy" to describe Saturday night's events.

"We are relieved that the decisions were made and in our opinion, the right decisions and obviously and the judges' as well," says Bird.

The judge says Bird will have custody of his daughter immediately after she's discharged from the hospital. Capallia-Eason will not be allowed on hospital property at the time to protect the child.

FHP says today's court case has zero impact on their investigation which is still ongoing.

The FHP report that stated Capallia-Eason was the driver and that alcohol was involved. Those facts alone were enough to remove Nina from the custody of her mother, according to the judge.

FHP says today's court proceedings have zero impact on their investigation which is still ongoing.


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment