FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. – Nearly five days after two Nassau County boys were killed and five other children were injured in a single-vehicle crash, the Florida Highway Patrol is still awaiting toxicology results on the driver.
Flowers, balloons and notes of sympathy are placed at the end of the tire tracks where the Ford Expedition overturned about 11:30 p.m. Saturday. One child remains hospitalized.
Tonya Capallia-Eason, the 33-year-old mother of the two boys who died and one of the girls who was injured, could face serious charges once the FHP investigation is completed.
"She could be exposed to a second-degree felony or a first-degree felony, possibly 15 years or up to 20 years in prison," said Rhonda Peoples-Waters, and attorney not affiliated with this case. "There’s more recent legislation that will require a 4-year minimum mandatory, so that would require at least a minimum of 4 years in prison that the mother would have to serve, if she's convicted of DUI manslaughter.
FHP Sgt. Dylan Bryan said the toxicology test being done by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement could take weeks or even months. Bryant said investigators believe Capallia-Eason was at a Halloween party for children the night of the crash, and some of the victims in the car and people at the party said she had been drinking.
Peoples-Waters said it's unlikely that the party's host would face any criminal charges since accounts say people at the party told Capallia-Eason not to drive.
"It certainly would have been morally responsible to call the police, but there’s no criminal action that appears to be apparent," Peoples-Waters said.
The SUV in the crash is at FHP's impoundment lot where it's considered evidence in the investigation. When that is completed, it will be released to the owner or her insurance company.
Wednesday, the father of three of Capallia-Eason's children, including the 8- and 9-year-old boys killed, was awarded custody.
A GoFundMe account has been created to help pay for the funeral expenses and Nina Capallia's recovery.