Survivors: 'Horrible' crash leaves emotional scars

Couple say they're praying for loved ones of four lost in fiery crash on Buckman

Grace Hanson and her husband, Kenneth Hanson, survived a three-vehicle crash on the Buckman Bridge that took the lives of four family members in another SUV.
Grace Hanson and her husband, Kenneth Hanson, survived a three-vehicle crash on the Buckman Bridge that took the lives of four family members in another SUV.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A fiery crash that shut down the Buckman Bridge for nearly five hours Monday claimed the lives of four family members and injured three other people.

Two of those injured survivors spoke to News4Jax a day after the crash and shared their horror at watching helplessly as flames shot into the air from the SUV with a mom and three children trapped inside.

Yakel Culclager, 36, Trequis Woods-Sims, 18, Tradesia Woods-Sims, 17, and Trevieon Woods-Franklin, 6, died. The children's father is in the Navy.

"You think back, nobody, no one could save those family members. We're thankful that we're spared. We're surviving, but when you think of the family that's lost -- it's horrible," Kenneth Hanson said. "It's just hard to think about."

Kenneth Hanson, 65, and his wife, Grace Hanson, were driving from Georgia to their home in Volusia County with their 73-year-old cousin Jane Caldwell.

Grace Hanson said she saw the Tahoe the family was in stalled out on the bridge and her Nissan stopped, but it was hit from behind by a semi, spinning her SUV out of the way. Florida Highway Patrol troopers said the big rig kept going and hit the Tahoe, pushing it into the concrete barrier, where it caught fire.

"I didn't see them get hit or anything," Grace Hanson said. "I don't know because we were already in -- a big crushing noise -- I heard and that was all I knew. I didn't see them get hit. I learned it was the Tahoe that got hit afterward.

"That poor family."

She said after the wreck, people were yelling that something was on fire. She said at first she thought it was her SUV. She, her husband and her cousin climbed out of the Nissan and then saw the Tahoe on fire.

"It was too far gone. Everything was in a flame," Grace Hanson said. "People were trying to help. There was help. The ambulances and everyone -- it seemed like they came fast, but there was no help for these poor people."

"Everything was just so fast. It was really just horrible looking at the whole scene, especially afterward to see the car burning and there was nobody that could help those people," Kenneth Hanson said. "It just wasn't a good sight at all. It was terrible."

The Hansons were taken to Baptist Medical Center-South with minor injuries along with their cousin. They said they have shoulder and hip pain but what they're dealing with emotionally is worse.

"I'm not able to think about me. I don't know about myself. I don't know about me," Grace Hanson said. "Watching on television you see these things, but you never know it's going to happen to you."

Because the accident came as such a shock to her, Grace Hanson share a piece of advice for everyone.

"Each day when you go out, you just have to ask God's guidance.  Have him cover you while you drive, while you walk, while you do whatever," Grace Hanson said. "I know the presence of God was over us."

The Hansons said they're praying for the father and the rest of the four victims' family.

"It's too much of a tragedy to happen," Grace Hanson said. "We're praying for the loved ones. I asked my family and everyone to pray for them."

Grace Hanson said she's grateful for the doctors and nurses who took care of her, her husband and her cousin, and the first responders and troopers who tried to help after the crash.

She said her cousin is in so much pain, she's thinking about taking her back to the emergency room to get checked out.