OCALA, Fla. - A Marion County community is mourning the loss of three people, including two children, after troopers say they were killed in a crash caused by a drunk driver.
Florida authorities say a man and his two granddaughters were struck and killed by the intoxicated driver while driving home from an elementary school on Thursday.
The Florida Highway Patrol said the incident happened Thursday afternoon at County Road 484 at County Road 467. According to a report from the agency, 48-year-old Stephen Lynn, of Ocala, failed to stop at a red light and hit the car driven by 71-year-old Emilio Nunez. Nunez and his granddaughters, 9-year-old Nevaeh and 7-year-old Katalaya, were killed.
A sign in front of the girls’ elementary school, Belleview-Santos, has been changed to a tribute for the Nunez family. A spokesperson for the Marion County School district says a crisis team was on campus Friday to help students and staff cope with the news.
“This is a very rural school. I think a lot of times rural schools are closer-knit than perhaps urban schools might be," said Kevin Christian, "and so this school is hurting together and they’ll heal together.”
Christian added that the two girls were very compassionate to their classmates and to other people around them.
"Just always had a smile on their faces, every day," he said.
Lynn has a suspended license. He’d previously been charged with driving with a suspended license at least three other times. He was being held in Marion County Jail on Friday.
It was the sixth time Lynn had been arrested in Marion County since 1997. Jail records didn’t list a lawyer for Lynn.