Family rallies around youngest victim of Putnam County crash

By Elizabeth Campbell - Reporter

A 4-year-old Putnam County boy remains on life support in a Gainesville hospital six days after a crash in Satsuma that took the life of a 55-year-old passenger in the same car.

Dominic Kemp was in the back seat as his mother was driving north on County Road 309 about 7 p.m. last Friday when their Dodge Challenger was hit by a pickup truck that crossed the center lane.

Dominic’s mother was not seriously hurt, but 55-year-old Robert Elliott, who was in the passenger seat, died in the crash. The Florida Highway Patrol said  the pickup, driven by 80-year-old Gary Rummel, crossed the center line. 

Family members said Dominic remains in critical condition, but is opening his eyes and is responsive, which his mom, Heather, said is a miracle.

"It was the most wonderful feeling in the world because, just a few days ago, I was thinking, 'Am I going to have to plan my son's funeral?''

Elliott's family said they’re devastated and still in shock. They believe people drive well over the 55 mph speed limit on that stretch of S.R. 309.

A woman who lives near where Friday's accident happened believes distracted driving is a bigger problem than speed. As proof, she pointed to her damaged fence, which she says a distracted driver veered off the road and hit in January. She said it was the fourth time in 10 years that’s happened.

Dominic’s family is asking for prayers, saying this has been a difficult week for them emotionally. physically and financially.

"Give us prayers, please. Lots of prayer," said Dominic's father, Charles Kemp. "I mean, he’s far from out of the woods. He’s got a lot to go -- a lot of time to go. We just need prayers. Thank you."

Dominc’s family has set a Go Fund Me account to help with medical costs.

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