Hunter Garcia, his wife, and their infant daughter were driving along Van Dyke Road when their SUV was involved in a crash that involved several other cars, according to WTSP. Carrollwood-Northdale Patch reported that the crash occurred at 2 p.m., when a vehicle ran a red light on Brown Road and T-boned their vehicle. This caused two additional cars to crash in a chain reaction.
The crash involved four vehicles and eight people, Patch reported. They transported five people of the eight involved to an area hospital for treatment.
Garcia and his family all sustained injuries, but their infant daughter, only a few months old, was in critical condition. Authorities arrived on the scene and took the infant to Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa, according to Patch.
“We really need a lot of prayers,” said Corey Dierdorff, the Public Information Officer for Pasco County Fire and Rescue. “This little girl is fighting for her life right now and it’s just heartbreaking.”
Mike Morgan, a fellow firefighter also asked people to help pray for Garcia and his family in a Facebook post.
“A young off-duty Pasco FF [Firefighter] and his wife and infant daughter were injured in a horrific MVC [Multiple Vehicle Crash] in the next county south,” Morgan wrote. “While information is limited the news is VERY serious. The Local members and Staff chiefs have stepped up to support but there needs to be many prayers to get Hunter and his family through this life changing event.”
However, on Sept. 15, authorities confirmed that the firefighter’s infant daughter passed away from her injuries.
“The infant child of [firefighter] Hunter Garcia and his wife Kayla passed away [on Sept. 15] after receiving devastating injuries in a horrible MVC in Hillsborough County Friday,” Mike wrote in a post updating the situation on Sept. 16. “Not only dealing with this unbelievable event both parents have significant injuries themselves.”
WTSP reported that Garcia and his wife’s injuries were considered severe.
“He had serious injuries to his face. His orbital socket was fractured as well as some other injuries to his body, and his wife was also injured as well with a fractured back and pelvis,” said Dierdorff. He said Garcia was a relatively new addition to the team having only been with the Pasco County Firefighters for under two years, Lutz Patch reported.
Several firefighters were waiting outside the halls to support their colleague, Patch reported.
“We had 35 guys waiting in the hallway,” Dierdorff said. “We’re going to be there for our family. I just want him to know that we have his back.”
According to Patch, the Pasco firefighters held a vigil for Garcia’s infant daughter at the hospital.
The crash remains under investigation by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Patch reported.