Passenger tried to save 8-year-old during crash

Jason Rantala reports. 10/25/2016

FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. - Friends of the family tell us the driver, 33-year-old Tonya Capallia-Eason, was drinking heavily at a Halloween party before the crash that killed two children and injured six more.

Florida Highway Patrol said she lost control and crashed into a utility pole.

Suffering broken ribs and a broken shoulder blade, Melvin Moore recounted what happened the night of the crash.

"It's still sinking in," said Moore.

The crash took the lives of 9-year-old Nicholai Capallia and 8-year-old Nehemiah Capallia-Bird, in what troopers call an alcohol-related incident.

"I was sleeping in the back off the truck and then I woke up with the kids screaming," said Moore.

At the moment of impact, Melvin said he took action, grabbing his girlfriend Trinity, while trying to save Nehemiah.

"I grabbed Trinity and then I saw Nehemiah and I tried to grab him and I ended up flying out the window," said Moore.

He ended up in the grass. In the aftermath, Melvin and another passenger tried to help.

"I saw my buddy James, he punched out the window and then me and him ended up trying to get everyone out," said Moore.

"She was a mess when I talked to her last night," said Dice.

Ray Dice is a close friend of Tonya. He lives right across the street from her.

"She knows she's got so many things to take care of and primarily her focus is here kids," said Dice.

Dice says Saturday's incident is very out of character for Tonya. In fact, he says he's never seen her drinking.

Despite what happened, Dice believes Capallia-Eason deserves a second chance.

"I know she's a mother, I know she's hurting more than any of us, and she needs her kids to be able to get through this. If they don't allow her to keep the kids, it's going to be ugly for her," said Dice.

Melvin said despite all that happened, he doesn't blame Tonya for what she did.

"The alcohol can take over someone and I personally don't think that that was her fault," said Moore.


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