CBS4 Exclusive: Grief-Stricken Man Too Distraught To Talk About Alligator Alley Crash That Claimed Lives Of Loved Ones
MIAMI (CBSMiami) - A North Miami man was the only survivor of a wreck on Alligator Alley last week.
He told CBS4'S Peter D'Oench that he could not talk about the accident after he was charged with careless driving and after the Florida Highway Patrol says he lost control of his car, resulting in the deaths of his own daughter, mother and grandmother.
"I cannot talk about it," said Junior Chery as he arrived back at his North Miami home. "I cannot talk about it."
When D'Oench asked him further about the accident, he started speaking briefly in Creole. And then Chery said, "Help me pray for them. Help me pray for them. That's all."
Then he walked in to his home, hugging friends whose were there.
Close friends of the family said they too were grieving.
James St. Hubin burst in to tears when he was asked about the three victims.
"They were all so precious to me and I was praying to God that the 8 year old girl would survive and that God would save her life. But that did not happen," he said. "There are no words to say what I feel inside of me. And I can tell that Junior will never get over the pain that he feels. This pain will never go away. This was his only daughter. And that pain will never ever leave his heart."
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Chery, 36, was heading west on I-75 on Wednesday afternoon when lost control just west of State Road 29, about 20 miles from the Naples city limits, in Collier County.
Chery and his family were on they're way to see relatives on the west coast, according to the FHP.
The 2001 Toyota Sequoia left the roadway to the left, spun arrived and then rolled over.
Killed in the crash were his mother, 66-year-old Marie Chery and 81-year-old Marie Dorange, also from North Miami.
A child who was in the SUV, 8-year-old Giovelina Chery, was taken to Tampa General Hospital where she died last Friday, November 29th.
"It's heartbreaking. Our hearts go out to the family, it's something devastating to everyone that knows them," said FHP Lt. Gregory Bueno.
Junior Chery, who received minor injuries, has been charged with reckless driving.
"That's a statute that says he failed to maintain control of his vehicle and as a result, it overturned and unfortunately it resulted in the death of three passengers," said Bueno
The FHP said it was one of the worst accidents in recent memory on Alligator Alley and a reminder of how careful drivers have to be.
"It is so important to make good choices when you get behind the wheel. And it's so important to abide by traffic laws and that's important for family members. You can see how quickly something like this can happen. Life is different because of what we do and this can happen to anybody," said Bueno.
"Three people lost their lives and that is something that registers with us but unfortunately what is also real is that 3,174 people lost their lives last year in the State of Florida and all deaths are important to us," he added.
The FHP said all of the occupants of the SUV were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash and it was not alcohol-related. The FHP is now trying to determine how fast Chery was driving at the time of the crash, that's part of their homicide investigation.
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