BAKER COUNTY, Fla. – A Macclenny mother of four who died in a crash was described by her close friends as a loving and generous person.
Lydia Pons, 30, was killed Monday afternoon when she was ejected in a rollover crash on U.S. 301 in Bradford County, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Pons was known for her love of animals and her love for her husband and children. She owned Bed Bath & Barks, which is a dog grooming service in Glen St. Mary.
Brittney Lauramore, who works at the business, said Pons was more than a boss.
"She did her best to be a best friend anytime you needed her for anything, whether it was work-related or a personal matter," Lauramore said Tuesday. "She would always know if something was wrong. She could tell if you had something bothering you. She would pull you off to the side, say, 'Hey what’s going on? What can I do to help you?'"
Lindsey Martinez told News4Jax by phone that she and Pons had been best friends since the eighth grade.
"I know the pain. I met her and she was my best friend. I can’t imagine losing a daughter in a moment of life, somebody that they see you day in and day out, daily, and it's just got to be devastating. She was so close with her sister and her brother. She was a daddy‘s girl," she said. "I just can’t imagine the kids; I hurt for them."
According to the Highway Patrol, Pons was driving a Chevrolet pickup on southbound U.S. 301 near County Road 221 just before 12:30 p.m. Monday when she lost control while changing lanes.
Pons' four children -- a 2-month-old boy, 2-year-old girl, 4-year-old girl and 7-year-old boy -- in the truck were injured. The children were taken to UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville and are expected to recover.
As of Tuesday afternoon, according to the Highway Patrol, the crash remained under investigation.
Martinez described her best friend as an amazing person who never met a stranger.
"(She was) the first one to befriend anybody new that came along," Martinez said. "She loved her family. She loved her church, her friends. If you needed anything, she was there. (She) always had a smile on her face and something nice to say."
Both women close to Pons said the mother and business owner leaves behind a legacy of love and generosity.
"(Her) huge heart, (her) loving heart -- that's the big thing. She leaves a big legacy behind," Martinez said. "She was loved by so many people. She made a huge impact on so many people."
"I think she would want people to remember and how willing she was to help others and how generous she was," Lauramore said.
Family friend Barry Melton also spoke highly of Pons, whom he had known for more than a decade.
"She attended the Baptist church here in Macclenny. (She was) committed to her business, worked hard and was a really good mother," Melton said. "It would really be a challenge to find anybody to say anything bad about her."
Former Baker County Sheriff Joey Dobson's wife, Linda, told News4Jax:
Joey and I are heartbroken over the news of Lydia Mae Masterson Pons passing. She was a very special person who truly loved animals, as Zoey and Charlie can attest to. She was their groomer for several years, early in their lives.
"Our deepest condolences go to her precious children, her husband, her parents, family, and friends. Our prayers are with every person and animal who will be impacted by losing Lydia in their lives.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Pons' husband and children. They are also accepting donations of diapers (Size 2 and up) and breast milk. A Facebook page has been set up for those who would like to help the family out with physical donations.
There will be a visitation from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at Macclenny Primitive Baptist Church.
Funeral services will be Friday at 11 a.m. A meal will be provided for the family after the services.