Late Saturday night, Roy McConnell posted a note on his Facebook page. It said that a weekend trip to the beach in St. Pete was one of the best ideas his family had had in years.
A few hours later, McConnell and his three sons were killed in a car crash.
St. Petersburg police say they were headed back to the beach house they had rented while visiting from the Orlando area.
"I was in shock," Norma Vasquez said through tears as she learned the news of her Orlando neighbors' deaths.
According to police spokesman Michael Puetz, McConnell and his three sons were driving west on 22nd Avenue North around 12:45 a.m. Sunday. A second car was headed south on Dr. Martin Luther King Junior Street. Police say that driver, 20-year-old Demetrius Jordan, ran the red light and slammed into the McConnells' car.
Roy McConnell, age 51, and his sons, 28-year-old Elroy, 24-year-old Nathan, and 19-year-old Kelly, were all killed.
Puetz said not only did Jordan run the red light, he was speeding.
"It is believed that alcohol is a factor, possibly drugs as well," Puetz said.
The impact of the crash pushed both cars through the intersection and into a concrete light pole.
"The cars were unrecognizable," Ivan Vaughan said who was also driving west on 22nd Avenue North just seconds after the crash occurred. "You couldn't even see them. I didn't even know there were two cars."
Police say they will have to wait for toxicology tests to confirm their suspicion that Jordan was under the influence. Jordan is, however, facing four counts of DUI manslaughter. He is being held in the Pinellas County jail on bond of more than $90,000.
Investigators say Jordan and his passenger suffered non-life threatening injuries. Police say Jordan has a history of traffic accidents and was driving on a suspended license.
In the meantime, people like Norma Vasquez struggle to comprehend how a weekend of fun could end so tragically for her Orlando neighbors of 19 years.
"They were so happy they were going away this week, the whole family, and now for this to happen, it's just tragic," Vasquez said. "The whole family is just gone."
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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