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Whitman Mourns 'Unimaginable' Loss Of 4 Family Members

WHITMAN (CBS) – The town of Whitman is mourning the painful loss of a brother and sister, and their mother and grandmother who were all killed while on a trip to Disney World.

Five-year-old Scarlett Smith, 12-year-old Jaxon Smith, and 41-year-old Julie Smith of Whitman and 76-year-old Josephine Fay of South Weymouth, died when their minivan was hit by a pickup truck just outside of Orlando, Florida Tuesday evening.

florida crash
Eight people were in the van when it was hit, February 18, 2020. (Photo credit: Osceola County Fire Rescue and EMS)

Jackson was on life support after the crash but was pronounced dead on Wednesday. Scarlett's twin sister Skylar and her 10-year-old sister Shalie were treated and released from the hospital, along with their father, Shane and their grandfather William Fay.

Family friend Mike Finn spoke with William Fay Wednesday morning. "Mr. Fay told us that it was extremely fast, they didn't think that anybody suffered," Finn told WBZ. "It was instantaneous."

In their small Whitman neighborhood, candles were placed on every porch for the Smith family. "Our souls are crying," said Helen Iannone, who runs the youth soccer league that Jackson played in. "It's just devastating and there's a lot of tears in this town right now."

Police said all of the children and three of the four adults were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash.

"It's a sad day here in Whitman-Hanson," Superintendent Jeffrey Szymaniak said. "It's awful - it really is. . . I think the family should be in our thoughts and prayers."

Scarlett Smith
Scarlett Smith, Jaxon Smith, Julie Smith and Josephine Fay (Photos credit: Fay Family)

All schools in the Whitman-Hanson Regional School District have activated their crisis teams. Counselors will be available to help students and employees in the days and weeks ahead.

The children had all attended the Merry Deb Learning Center in Whitman and the twins were talking about their upcoming trip to Disney just recently.

"They were so excited about going," the pre-school's director, Darlene Staples, told reporters. "They loved school, they loved their friends, they loved playing. We're just trying to deal with it right now."

fay grandparents
Bill and Josephine Fay with their grandchildren from left to right: Scarlett, Skylar, Jackson (back) and Shalie Smith. (The Fay family)

"It's unimaginable" what happened, Staples said, adding that parents have been asking her if there's anything they can do to help the Smiths.

"They're a beautiful family. Our hearts are broken and we'll do everything that we can to support them in any way we can," Staples said.

Whitman Youth Soccer is planning to hold a candlelight vigil for the Smith family at 7 p.m. Friday at the middle school.

Those looking to support the family can donate to their GoFundMe here.

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