Sons 'trying to be strong' after father among those killed in I-10 crashes

Children describe Harold Payne, 44, as amazing, loving father

Family photo of Harold Payne
Family photo of Harold Payne

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Two sons are trying to stay strong for their family after their father was among two people killed in two separate crashes last Friday on eastbound Interstate 10 just west of Jacksonville. 

Harold Payne, 44, died Friday afternoon after the Kia Soul he was driving went off the road near the Hammond Boulevard exit and overturned several times, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. 

The three passengers, one of whom was Payne's wife, were all taken to UF Health Hospital with serious injuries, troopers said. Investigators said it is unknown at this time why the Kia went off the road.

Brandon Payne and Harold Crawford told News4Jax Wednesday that they want the public to remember their father as a good man. 

"He was amazing dad to all his kids and was there, every time I called. He liked to joke around. He would play football, play anything sports with his kids. He would love all his kids and he was a good dad to every one of us," Brandon said. 

Both were still in shock over what happened to their father.

"He was always, always the one trying to be there. He was always, he was loving. He was goofy. He always made everybody’s mood change to happy. He wanted to better himself to better his children and better his family," Harold said. "(I'm) just trying to be strong for my family, do everything I can."

The two young men recounted the moment when they each received the horrible news.

"I was actually in Palatka with my birth mom and then her phone got blown up, and she told all of her family and then they all came to me and we kind of got in like a group and she told me and it was crazy," Harold said.

As they continue to deal with the pain of losing their father, Payne's children are now focusing on planning their father's funeral.

"I hate that it happened to him like that, but I know he’s in heaven looking down at us and wanting us to be strong," Brandon said. "(I'm) just trying to hang in there for my brothers and sisters."

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the family with Payne's funeral expenses. 

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