FHP: Father, 3 children killed in Lake County crash

Troopers investigate fatal crashes in Lake County, Orange County

Author: Sheli Muniz, Reporter, smuniz@wkmg.com
Published On: Jan 30 2013 04:21:45 PM EST   Updated On: Jan 21 2013 11:13:11 AM EST
killed-family

Florida Highway Patrol is investigating two fatal crashes from Friday night in Lake County and in Orange County.

The Lake County crash left a father and his 3 children dead Friday. Troopers said the 2009 Mercedes was traveling on State Road 33 and Groveland Airport Road at around 6:45 p.m. when the 41-year-old Wilfredo "Willie" Malave lost control. The man, his two boys, 9-year-old Zion and 7-year-old Phoenix and little girl, 2-year-old Avaya were killed when the car hit several trees and a telephone pole, according to FHP.

Two of the children were taken to Southlake Hospital where they died. The father and one of the boys died on the scene.

Neighbors call the curve a dead man's curve, and say it is a very dangerous route.

"When we open up the door, all we saw were flashing lights. It's pretty bad," said 12-year-old Trinity.

"That curve is really dangerous, something needs to be done about it," said Gloria, Trinity's grandmother.

"We think that after he [driver] came out of the curve, from what witnesses were saying, he lost control after that," said FHP Sgt. Dan Willix.

The speed limit is 60 miles per hour and homicide investigators are working to learn how fast the driver was going. All were wearing seat belts, one child was in a car seat.  Troopers say two of the kids had only the lap belt, but the impact was so strong it wouldn't have mattered.

The Medical Examiner will run tests to see if Malave was drinking before the crash, but the results could take weeks.

Local 6 found out that Willie Malave has been charged with drunk driving before. Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office documents show he was charged with DUI in November 2010.

In Orange County, troopers said a driver crashed into a tree while driving on Colonial Drive and South Christmas Road at around 7:30 p.m. The car caught on fire, killing the driver, according to FHP.