Man who lost family 'being as strong as I can'
Family had just moved to Jacksonville when husband took job at NAS Jax
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Navy corpsman whose wife and three children were killed on the Buckman Bridge on Monday afternoon posted a message on Facebook, saying, "Thank you to everyone who is supporting me right now in the loss of my family."\
Dexter Culclager posted the message early Wednesday morning, telling people in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, where they recently moved from, "I am being strong as I can for everyone in the family and I'm working as fast as I can to bring them home to you guys."
Funerals for Yakel Culclager, 36, and their three children -- 18-year-old Tre'Quis Woods-Sims, 17-year-old Tradesia Woods-Sims and 6-year-old Trevieon Woods-Franklin -- are expected to be this weekend in Arkansas.
All four were killed when their SUV that had broken down on the bridge was struck from behind by a tractor-trailer.
The pastor of the family's church -- Trinity at Oakleaf -- said the church is collecting online donations and gift cards to help the father, Dexter Culclager, pay for travel expenses. Gift cards can be dropped off at 800 Hammond Blvd. at the C Building front desk, and online donations can be made at http://www.gofundme.com/Culclager.
The principal of the Arkansas high school where Tre'Quis and Tradesia attended before moving to Florida told News4Jax that funeral services will likely be held in the school gymnasium to accommodate the large crowd expected.
"Nobody expects that for their kids," Assistant Principal Reginald Wilson said. "We were hopeful for their future possibilities."
Tre'Quis was a football player on the Pine Bluff team before graduating last spring.
The principal at Pine Bluff says that Tre'Quis was a student you didn't have to worry about.
"He and I would often speak," Principal Michael Nellums. "He was a conscientious kind of kid. Very well spoken, really good manners. Just a lot of excitement about his future."
In a text message, Tre'Quis' ex-girlfriend of three years said there was never a dull moment when you were around him. She says she could talk to his mother, Yakel Culclager, about anything.
Tradesia was described by the Arkansas educators as a bright girl loaded with potential to achieve the goals she wanted in the future.
"Very polite, very mannerable young lady," said Wilson. "She worked hard. She was one of those kids that you wish you had a classroom full of. She made it easy for you, very comfortable, energetic, focused on her work."
Funeral arrangements are still being made.
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