JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said it has been overwhelmed by support since a suspected drunk driver caused a crash that killed a JSO bailiff and injured her motorcycle officer husband and their two children over the weekend.
The Jacksonville Fraternal Order of Police said Officer William "Jack" Adams, who served in the U.S. Marines, will have a long road to physical recovery and "will be fighting to find the new normal for his family" after the death of his bailiff wife, Cathy Adams.
"They're going to have to adjust to a new normal after the tragic death of his wife and the mother of his two children. And quite frankly, someone who was loved by the entire community -- that shows," FOP president Steve Zona said.
Those who knew Cathy Adams said she would do anything for anyone and could make any situation better.
"She was amazing. You talk to people who knew her really well and who worked with her -- her smile just lit up the room,” Zona said. “She was always, always a positive person. Give you the shirt off her back."
The FOP will collect donations Thursday at Lodge 5-30 on Beach Boulevard during its free pictures with Santa Claus event. Photo sessions are from 9-11 a.m., 1-3 p.m. and 4-6 p.m at 5530 Beach Blvd.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with this family. They're the ones taking it the hardest. It does affect the law enforcement community as a whole, and we do what we always do -- we rally together and make sure the Adams family has what they need."
FOP representatives said donations are also being accepted via the Fraternal Order of Police, and a GoFundMe account has been set up to make the process easier.
Checks can also be made payable to the FOP Foundation, notating “Benefit of Adams Family” in the memo section. They can be mailed to Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 5-30, 5530 Beach Blvd., Jacksonville, Florida, 32207. You can also call 904-398-7010 ext. 10 or 11 and donate via debit/credit card.
Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles announced Monday he will match up to $15,000 in money donated to help the Adams family through his foundation's website by Friday. Donors are also encouraged to leave a message for the family in the box "Donation Message."
"First responders play a vital role in our community every day," Bortles said. "My foundation aims to ensure these men and women who strengthen and protect our communities are properly recognized and supported. Our thoughts and prayers are with William and his family during this challenging time."
Cathy Adams, 43, was riding with her husband and their two teenage children when their SUV was hit by suspected drunk driver on I-95 in St. Johns County, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Cathy Adams died Sunday after coming off life support, and Jack Adams' condition was upgraded to serious and stable Wednesday, according to representatives with Memorial Hospital.
"He's surrounded by his immediate family and surrounded by his close friends in the law enforcement community and they haven't left his side, haven't left his kids' side," Zona said.
Charles Shinholser, who lost his son, a motorman with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, in the line of duty 30 years ago, works with Concerns of Police Survivors and spent a few days with the Adams family.
"We're here for the families. We're here for them every day and will always be there for them,” Shinholser said, adding that his own tragic loss is always close to home. "Just like yesterday. Never changes. Some days I look up. Some days I cry about it."
Kim Johnston, 46, was charged with two counts of driving under the influence with serious bodily injury in the crash. She was released Monday afternoon on $100,000 bond.
No funeral or procession arrangements for Cathy Adams have been announced. Zona said the department is waiting for Jack Adams to recover before moving forward with those.