Family mourns three deaths from Toll Road crash

ST JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. - A four vehicle crash on the Indiana Toll road left three innocent people from the same family dead. The wrong-way driver who police say caused the wreck died from injuries as well. Curtis Scruggs, the cousin of victim, says this tragedy could have been avoided, “This was preventable. This was a person who made a conscious decision to drink and then get behind the wheel of a car.”

The family was driving home from Chicago to their home in Painseville, Ohio. Denita Rice, her niece Makayla Lanier, and one-year-old Bryson Rice died at the scene or from injuries. Octavius Rice, the husband of Denita and father of Bryson, is still undergoing surgery. 10-year-old Nyla Watkins is also undergoing surgery.

Members of the family reached out to ABC57 and provided a hand-written statement. Part of the statement mentioned how loving and caring Denita was. Family said she was a great mom of three and teacher. She loved going to church. In that statement, family said how bright Bryson’s smile was and how he was a happy baby.

The family trying to fight through, but they’re worried about the survivor. “Now you have a father who has to come to grip once he physically heals. He has to come to grips with the fact that you know his wife and child are gone. And, how do you, how do you do that?” said Scruggs.

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