CLAY COUNTY, Fla. - A head-on crash on State Road 21 just south of Camp Blanding killed five people and sent two children to the hospital in critical condition Tuesday.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a Toyota Camry headed north on State Road 21 near Camp Blanding just before 3 p.m. drifted across the yellow dividing lines of the road and hit a Nissan Altima driven by 22-year-old Chelsea Johnson, of Melrose.
Officials have identified the driver of the Camry as 29-year-old Daniel Eden of Sisterville, West Virginia. Brandy Eden, 24; Rebecca Bates, 46; and David Eden, 31, were passengers in the Camry. All four of them died from their injuries.
A 2-year-old girl and 4-year-old boy were also in the Camry and survived the crash. They were taken to UF Health Jacksonville in critical condition.
According to FHP Capt. Keith Gaston, the children survived the accident thanks to the car seats that they were buckled in to.
"It's a testament to child seats and having them buckled in properly," Gaston said.
According to Chelsea Johnson's grandfather, Robert Hatton, Johnson and her husband, Raymond Johnson Jr., were heading back to Putnam County after Raymond Johnson's graduation from the police academy in Orange Park.
"Today was one of Chelsea's most proud days. She took off from work to attend the graduation of her husband at the police academy there in Orange Park at the Thrasher Horn Center. They had left the graduation and were headed back home to their home in Granden," Hatton said.
Hatton said his granddaughter and her husband were waiting until Chelsea graduated from nursing school to have kids.
"She was a wonderful granddaughter and she worked her way through nursing school as a waitress for seven years, didn't miss a day. She got a good job at the University of Florida Physician's Center as an allergy nurse," Hatton said. "They were so happy and so, It was probably the happiest day of their life and in one second their life was snuffed out and a lot of other people, too."
According to Hatton, Raymond Johnson was following behind his wife when the accident happened.
"I got the news from my son that her husband was, that Chelsea was in a terrible accident and the closer that we got to it you could see the handwriting all over the wall with the coroner's truck and state cops," Hatton described.
Troopers are still investigating the exact cause of the accident.
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