Police: Mom aims at tanker, tries to kill self, sons

Alachua County Sheriff's Office booking photo of Melissa Gail Mack
Alachua County Sheriff's Office booking photo of Melissa Gail Mack

GAINSVILLE, Fla. – Police say a Florida woman intentionally rammed her van into the back of a tanker truck after failing to crash head-on in a suspected attempt to kill herself and her two young sons.

The Gainesville Sun reports police arrested 48-year-old Melissa Gail Mack on Friday on three counts of attempted murder. The 4-year-old and 6-year-old boys escaped injuries and were turned over to the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families.

Police say Mack started driving north in the southbound lane of U.S. 441 just north of the intersection with NW 53rd Avenue and attempted to ram a tanker truck head-on.

The truck driver swerved, causing Mack's van to miss. However, police say she turned around and rammed the back end of the truck. Her van's airbags deployed and the van's engine caught fire, trapping Mack and her two children inside The tanker truck was not badly damaged.

The truck driver and several other bystanders helped put out the fire and get Mack and the children out of the van before anything more serious happened.

The tanker was hauling around 330 gallons of gasoline.

Officials said Mack told a friend that day that she was going to kill herself and her sons, explaining it was “God’s will.”

Police said that Mack first tried to crash head-on, but the tanker truck driver swerved to avoid crashing. Mack then made a U-turn and rammed into the tanker’s back, catching fire before being rescued.

WCJB-TV in Gainesville contributed to this report.