Passenger, mom, forgive woman for fatal Fernandina Beach crash

Jason Rantala reports. 10/24/2016

FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. -- A passenger who rode in the vehicle that crashed into a utility pole and killed two boys, says she forgives the driver for allegedly driving drunk.

It was late Saturday night, the Florida Highway Patrol says 33-year-old Tonya Capallia-Eason had eight children in the car, when it swerved off the road near Lonnie Crews Road and Lina Road.

"It's a hard thing to see," said Billy Rowland.

Rowland had the unfortunate task of being first on the scene, after the fatal wreck that claimed the lives of 9-year-old Nicholai Capallia and 8-year-old Nehemiah Capallia-Bird.

"Nobody should actually have to see something like that," said Rowland.

Scraped up and recovering from a concussion,14-year-old Trinity Hancock was one of the 8 passengers, 15 or under. Tonya Capallia-Eason drove them home after friends say she was drinking heavily at a Halloween party.

Hancock is a very close friend of one of the driver's daughters, who was also in the car.

"Everybody was trying to stop her from driving but no one was physically trying to stop her from driving," said Hancock.

Hancock doesn't remember everything, but says Capallia-Eason was going too fast.

"I just felt everybody slam to the front from how hard she slammed on the gas and it was just like 'whoa what just happened'," said Hancock.

Hancock remembers feeling the car tip, and then waking up in the grass, far away from everyone else in the car.

"Nick was on the ground dead and I was just like what is going on like I thought it was a dream," said Hancock.

Hancock's mother Tobi Wilson got the call from the hospital early Sunday morning.

"I asked God to put his hands on her and hold her until I got there," said Wilson.

Despite all that has happened, both mom and daughter say they forgive the driver, in part because Capallia-Eason has to live with what she did, and they say that should be enough.

"As a mother and a Christian I'm just humbly blessed, I forgive her, I don't wish any harm," said Wilson.

Despite acknowledging alcohol was involved in the crash, FHP still has not filed any charges.

They say if charges are warranted, they'll be issued when the investigation is finished.


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