Fundraiser held for couple injured in Clay County crash

Larry and Connie Tode recovering from broken bones and comas

By Jenese Harris - Reporter/anchor, Quan McWill, News4Jax intern

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. - More than a dozen motorcycle riders came together Saturday to raise money for a couple injured in a crash last month.

A Green Cove Spring couple, Larry and Connie Tode, suffered serious injuries after they were hit head-on by a man driving on Highway 17

The Florida Highway Patrol believes the driver who hit them was under the influence.

The Todes continue to recover in the hospital from broken bones and comas, and their children and grandchildren are raising money to help them with medical bills. 

"They are my heroes," said Malachi Modlin, a grandson of the Todes. "They are the people who basically raised me."

On June 12, Modlin and his grandparents were driving home in separate cars after having dinner. Modlin arrived home first and became worried when Larry Tode called him but didn't say a word. 

“I was trying to remain optimistic," Modlin said. "I was thinking maybe he just parked and dialed with me. I was like, 'Hey Papa, are you there?' But as I heard the police talking and I heard the word 'Chevy' and a crash, I knew that was their truck.”

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, 49-year-old David Pulliam crossed into the northbound lane on Highway 17, crashing into the Todes.

Melissa Holman, a daughter of the Todes, organized Saturday's motorcycle ride, which raised $3,000.

"My father died on scene, but he was revived," Holman said. "He was in a coma a couple of days ago, and he started to come around, saying a few words that correlate with the questions that we ask him. Mom is doing good. She recently had pneumonia, and she’s recovering from that."

In addition to medical bills, the family hopes they can raise money for a wheelchair ramp for the couple when they come home.

The Justice Coalition reached out to the family and is going to have a ramp installed for the couple at no charge.

As for Modlin, he’s also staying strong to help his mother with this ride and his grandparents with their recovery.

“Especially my grandmother, she was under many different surgeries for her entire life," Modlin said. "And I have heard how strong she is, but I have never been witnessed it until now, seeing them push to their hardest to come out of this.”

Court records show Pulliam has had multiple driving citations and run-ins with law enforcement.

 

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