Grandma, Mom, 2 Kids on Disney Vacation Killed in Crash

4 other family members survive crash near Orlando, Fla.
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 20, 2020 10:55 AM CST
Family of 8 Was on Disney Vacation. A Crash Killed 4 of Them
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/Chalabala)

A family vacation to Disney World came to an unimaginable ending Tuesday night when four members of the Massachusetts family were killed in a crash on a Florida highway. Grandma Josephine Fay, 76, mom Julie Smith, 41, and daughter Scarlett Smith, 5, died at the scene; son Jackson Smith, 11, died later at a hospital. The grandfather, father, Scarlett Smith's 5-year-old twin, and a 10-year-old sister survived the crash with minor injuries, reports. A pickup truck rear-ended the family's rental van at full speed when the van slowed down due to congestion, rolling it over, the Boston Globe reports. Two other vehicles were also struck, but no one else was injured. Everyone in the van except the father, who survived, was wearing a seatbelt or child restraint.

The 26-year-old driver of the pickup, whom police say was "distraught" and voluntarily provided a blood sample for drug and alcohol testing, may be charged, but police don't believe impairment was a factor. He was driving a company truck at the time. A family friend tells CBS Boston he spoke to the grandfather and was told "it was extremely fast, they didn't think that anybody suffered. It was instantaneous." The twins were excited about the trip; "they couldn't wait," their preschool teacher tells WCVB. She notes that the family was in Florida to escape Massachusetts' cold weather for spring break, and that they'd made the same trip last year. "You never imagine something like this would happen. There are no words." (More Florida stories.)

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