Family devastated after 4 dead, 2 injured in Baker County crash

Azariaua Hopkins, 5, and Leniya Hopkins, 4 recovering in hospital

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Family members are breaking their silence after a Baker County crash claimed the lives of four people, including one toddler last weekend.

The mother of the only two survivors, two small girls, spoke with News4Jax Thursday evening at Wolfson Children’s Hospital.
Ebony Hopkins said it was a normal Saturday afternoon at home on the couch when the phone rang. And on the other end was the news that no mother wants to ever hear.

“At first I was thinking it was not or I was hoping it wasn't them, but when I got here it was. It was them I just broke down and started crying because I’m like my baby,” said Hopkins.

Six people were in a Chevy Impala over the weekend, including three children. The family identified the victims as Valerie Hopkins, 42, her husband Antonio Hadden, 35, family friend Charles Rogers, 39, and 1-year-old Julian Porter.

The Florida Highway Patrol said the driver lost control of the car on Interstate 10 near the Baker County rest stop and eventually hit a tree. The car immediately burst into flames.

All of the adults in the car died. And witnesses were able to quickly remove the three children. But one, Julius Porter's little boy, 1-year-old Julian Porter, did not survive.

“The most painful thing as a person can feel in this world is losing a child especially when the last moment you were just with them and it happened so fast so quick,” Porter said. “It feels like a bad dream. for someone to be losing their child like that.”

Azariaua Hopkins, 5, and Leniya Hopkins, 4,  are now on the road to recovery at Wolfson's Children’s Hospital. The family said they have broken bones from the stomach down. But their mother Ebony Hopkins told News4Jax they will pull through.

She said she can't thank those selfless people who helped rescue her children enough.

“I’m just happy they saved my two girls like that. It ain't enough thanks for us to not keep thanking them. I just want them to know from the bottom of our hearts that you do what you could do and you have my son until someone came to try to do something for him,” said Hopkins.

The girls are expected to be released from the hospital on Friday. After that, they will head to Brooks Rehabilitation center for about two weeks.

One Gofundme account has been set up to help the family with funeral expenses for the 1-year-old who did not survive the crash. Another Gofundme account has been set up to help the girls recover.

About the Author:

Emmy-nominated journalist Kristin Cason joined the News 6 team in June 2016.