Former nanny of 10-year-old killed in I-10 crash: ‘Eli was precious’

Special church service held in memory of Eli Warren

A special church service to honor a ten year-old boy who lost his life in a crash on I-10.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A special church service was held Wednesday evening in memory of a 10-year-old boy who was killed in a crash Tuesday night on Interstate 10.

Family and friends filled the sanctuary of Maranatha Church of Jacksonville to sing and pray for Eli Warren and his family.

Eli’s former nanny, Katie Harrison, told News4Jax that they’re going to pray and be happy because that’s what Eli would want.

“Eli was precious," she said Wednesday night. "He loved Chris Farley and to laugh, and he was incredibly empathetic and he really loved people.”

Harrison said she was with Eli’s brother Tuesday evening when she learned of the crash that happened while Eli and his mother, 45-year-old Releia Warren, were headed toward the family’s home in Maxville.

“We were playing, having a game night, and we found out through a phone call," the family friend said. "So we came to the hospital and met her there and that’s when we found out.”

About 8 p.m. Tuesday, according to the Florida Highway Patrol, a tractor-trailer came across the median of I-10 just east of Highway 301, flipped on its side and struck the family’s Honda Odyssey van. Eli died at the scene and Warren, who was driving the van, was taken to Orange Park Medical Center with serious injuries.

Harrison said it will be hard without Eli. She said she will never forget the wonderful child she took care of.

“We know that Eli is in a better place and he is with Jesus and he is happy," Harrison said. “We love him and we’re so glad that we got to be apart of his life.”

Harrison said Warren, a beloved youth group leader, has a lot of injuries and was still in the hospital as of Wednesday night. But Harrison said Warren is strong and doing well.

At this time, according to troopers, it’s unclear why the tractor-trailer entered the median. The Florida Highway Patrol told News4Jax that the driver of the tractor-trailer, a 51-year-old Atlanta man, has been cooperative and feels terrible.

About the Authors:

Jacksonville native and proud University of Florida graduate who joined News4JAX in 2016.