BRANDON (FOX 13) - A tricycle lays untouched in front of Ronald Green and Tiffany Young’s Bartow home where neighbors are still coming to grips with the news that 5-year-old Ronald Green III, his 9-year old sister Sariyah and their Ronald II won’t be coming home.
“When I saw the Maserati that tipped me off,” said neighbor Allisa Lowery, who says she first learned about the crash while watching the news on Sunday. “I was wondering like, ‘oh what a loss for a family.’ I didn’t know it was just right across the street from me.”
Detectives say Green was behind the wheel of his 2005 Maserati when he lost control early Sunday morning. The car smashed through the guard rail on I-75, tumbled across the highway’s median and then went over a concrete barrier.
Sariyah and Donald junior were trapped inside the car when it fell onto Woodberry Road below and caught fire. Their parents, Ronald senior and Tiffany, were both ejected during the fall. Tiffany, somehow, survived.
“This is something she’s going to have to deal with the rest of her life: her whole family wiped out,” said Sheila White, Ronald II’s aunt. “It’s an horrific tragedy.”
Teachers and classmates at Holland Elementary in Polk County are stunned by the loss of two of their students. Teachers say Sariyah was a bright big sister who doted on her younger brother.
“Sariyah and Ronald were happy children with beautiful smiles. As a big sister, on a large campus, Sariyah would walk Ronald to his kindergarten class each day,” staff told FOX 13 in a statement.
The crash has also taken a heavy emotional toll on investigators.
“Most of the people here, you know we’re parents so of course it strikes home,” said Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Steve Gaskins. “Being a father myself I can only imagine the pain and trauma someone would feel at the loss of two young children like that.”
But troopers insist it was preventable. “Indicators at the scene lead investigators to believe that alcohol played a central role in this crash,” said Gaskins.
According to troopers, witnesses say the Maserati was speeding and trying to pass other cars on the road when it spun out and flipped off of the highway. A toxicology report will take between 30 and 60 days to complete, but based on what detectives found at the scene, FHP says they’re confident lab reports will confirm Green, who had a prior DUI arrest while home from college in 2006, was in fact impaired when he lost control of his car.
Tiffany Young, the sole survivor of the crash, is still recovering at Tampa General Hospital and remains in critical condition.