A Dade City family is devastated after a gruesome car accident early Tuesday morning.
Justin and Sharonda Sims were driving their kids home after a day of shopping at the Orlando outlet malls, just after midnight Tuesday. For unknown reasons, Justin Sims didn't stop at a stop sign at the intersection of Deen Still Road and County Road 33.
The family's 1998 Buick Century was hit by a northbound semi-truck, and dragged for about 500 feet underneath its trailer.
Justin and Sharonda Sims, and their 5-year old son, Savion were killed in the accident. Their two little girls, 7-year old Aryal and 2-year old Kitty are in critical condition at Arnold Palmer Hospital in Orlando.
The family's youngest, 3-month old Arienne, wasn't seriously injured. Deputies say she was safely locked into a car seat. Everyone else in the car was not wearing seatbelts.
The driver of the semi-truck is not facing charges. Traffic homicide investigators are focusing their attention on why Justin Sims didn't stop.
A solar-powered flashing light on top of the stop sign was broken at the time of the accident. County crews fixed it before the road was reopened Tuesday morning. Still, Sheriff Grady Judd questions why the father didn't stop.
"The stop sign was in place. It's reflective, and certainly it's not normal practice to have a flashing light on every stop sign," he said.
The area is known for speeding, and family friends say it was foggy outside at the time of the accident.
"It's heartbreaking because it could be anybody. You just never know when your time is," neighbor Lisa Drevermann said Tuesday.
Friends say the family did everything together, and had moved to Dade City about a year ago.
"They were always spending time with them. Whenever we saw them, the kids were always there. They were always outside with them," friend Kim Mahon said Tuesday.
The Polk County Sheriff's Office says Justin Sims was driving on a suspended license.
The Florida Department of Transportation is now considering adding a round-a-bout to the intersection to slow down drivers.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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