A Hilliard family is grieving the death of a 27-year-old father of four, the second time tragedy has struck them with all too familiar circumstances.
Ryan Garrett died May 11 when he drove into the back of a log truck on U.S. Highway 1. Investigators with the Florida Highway Patrol said Garrett wasn't wearing a seat belt.
His death was the second time a log truck has played a devastating roll in the lives of this family.
When Patricia Garrett was 11 years old, she said she was hit by a log truck on the way home from school. She said the driver didn't see her until it was too late. The impact shattered her hips and crushed her legs.
"Yeah, it messed up my pelvic -- my legs, there are skin grafts all over my legs and my hips," said Garrett, who was hit by the truck in 1995.
"She had 35 surgeries before she got out of the hospital," said Amanda Emery, Patricia's sister. "She wasn't suppose to walk or have kids or anything."
Seventeen years later, Garrett is dealing again with tragedy and a log truck. Early in the morning May 11, her husband, Ryan, was driving to work in Jacksonville when he crashed into the back of a log truck.
"When I saw the cops start walking towards my mom and coming towards me, I just knew," Patricia said.
Ryan left behind four children, ages 4, 7, 8 and 10. The family considers the children miracle babies because of the injuries Patricia suffered as a girl. Now, the family is throwing around the words "curse" and "sick joke."
"You ask yourself that, yes," Emery said. "I mean, what's the odds of it? It's like one in a million."
Garrett said her family is not doing good.
"The kids just started going back to school now," she said. "I've been called up there because they've been crying. We're just trying to figure out what we're going to do."
Because of her injuries, Garrett is unable to work and the family is struggling financially. That's why they've set up a series of fundraisers in Ryan Garrett's name, starting with a series of softball games June 16 at Stein Tompkins ball field off of Bay Road.
There's also a fishing tournament July 7.
To view a memorial page for Ryan Garrett on Facebook, click here.
An account for donations has been set up at Southeastern Bank under Patricia Garrett. The PayPal account is email@example.com.
The Garretts would have celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary in October.