ELKTON, Fla. - Four people killed in a fiery head-on collision involving two SUVs Wednesday morning in Elkton were identified by troopers the next day.
The Florida Highway Patrol on Thursday identified the driver of a red Dodge Durango involved in the crash as Richard Jon-Robert Wilke, of Jacksonville. He was the only person in the Dodge.
Wilke's sister and mother told News4Jax that the 27-year-old leaves behind a 4-year-old son called "Little Ricky," who was in his custody.
They said he was also an aspiring singer and songwriter who produced his own material and music videos, which appear on YouTube. One of the videos has been viewed nearly 1,000 times.
“Ricky had the voice of an angel. He could hit any note," said Marilyn Wilke, his mother. "When he sang, it just brought tears to your eyes.”
The family said Wilke was on his way to begin training at a new job in St. Johns County at the time of the crash, which occurred just before 8 a.m. Wednesday on State Road 206, between County Road 305 and Interstate 95.
“It was very shocking news," said Carrie Robinson, Wilke's sister. "I was really close to him. He was my baby brother and it’s been very hard.”
Wilke's mother and sister said the family is now doing its best to be make sure his son has all the support he needs to deal with his father’s death.
"It's very important to be there for him and nurture him," Robinson said. "One day, he will understand more about it."
Marilyn Wilke said, "He said, 'Daddy's dead.' And I don't think he exactly knows what 'dead' means, but I think he felt something because he would not go into his daddy's room and he still hasn't."
According to the FHP report, Wilke was driving east on S.R. 206 and passed a tractor-trailer, but failed to return to the eastbound lane. That's when, troopers said, the driver of an Infiniti QX60 in the westbound lane tried to swerve to the right, but the front of the Durango struck the front of the Infiniti.
One of the vehicles caught fire, shutting down S.R. 206 for nearly five hours.
The Highway Patrol said all occupants of the two SUVs involved in the crash died at the scene.
Troopers identified the driver of the Infiniti as John Brandon Hendricks, 47, and the two passengers in the Infiniti as 49-year-old Renee Bernadette Hendricks and 20-year-old Niyah Renee Hendricks.
The FHP report shows the 20-year-old passenger in the Infiniti was the only person not wearing a seat belt. No charges are pending.
Wilke's family members said they are awaiting the release of his body from the medical examiner’s office so that they can have it cremated.
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