A Palm Bay mother and her 3-year-old child daughter in the crash that shut down Interstate 95 for more than four hours Friday morning in Brevard County, according to Florida Highway Patrol.
Troopers say the crash, involving a minivan and a semi-truck, occurred at around 5 a.m. on I-95 near Malabar Road, exit 176.
FHP said 53-year-old Carlos Abreu of Miami was driving a tractor-trailer and pulling another semi-cab after it had broken down with a chain, which is highly illegal.
Troopers said the driver of the minivan, 29-year-old Latwinnett Dixon, hit the back of the cab that was being pulled by the semi-truck and the chain that was holding the two trucks together broke. As a result, the van was lodged between the undercarriage of the semi truck pulling the cab.
FHP says the child, Nazirah Wilson, was in a car seat. Both were wearing seat belts.
Dixon was returning to her Palm Bay house Friday morning for one last time before moving to Georgia, where she had gotten a new job. She also had two sons.
Eddie Dixon said he can't believe his sister and niece are gone, but is comforted that he got to see them Thursday night one last time at a family goodbye party.
"So we all just had a little get-together, had our talks and our laughs," Eddie Dixon said. "It's kind of depressing because she's leaving and it's like, she's the energy of the family."
Charges are pending against the drivers of both trucks, FHP said. Local 6 has learned the truck was hauling acid and some of it spilled, but it's not clear how much.
Investigators said they don't know what caused the woman to crash into the back of the truck.