OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – A Universal Orlando employee and his 14-year-old son were killed on the Fourth of July after their pickup truck was hit by a wrong-way driver, according to family friends and troopers with the Florida Highway Patrol.
Skip and Mikey Skipper were among three killed Sunday night in a head-on crash after the driver of another vehicle was driving the wrong way on County Road 523, according to troopers. Wendy Durinick, Mike’s grandmother and Skip’s mother-in-law, confirmed the victims’ names to News 6.
The father and son share the same name, Micheal Skipper, but the elder Skipper was known as “Skip” to his friends and family and his son went by “Mikey.”
“Wherever Mike was you found Skip, wherever Skip was you found Mike,” Durinick said of the father and son, adding the pair enjoyed kayaking and fishing together.
Skipper is survived by his wife, Jen, and young daughter, Addie, according to Durinick.
The 40-year-old father and husband worked at Universal Orlando for 15 years. Mikey Skipper loved fishing, playing sports and spending time with his family, according to his grandmother.
The two-vehicle crash was reported around 10:15 p.m. near Sullivan Road and CR 523, according to the crash report.
Investigators said the 65-year-old driver of a 2018 Toyota Rav 4 was driving south in the northbound lanes and drove head-on into a Chevrolet pickup truck with the 40-year-old father and his 14-year-old son.
Both the driver of the Rav 4, from Orlando, and Skipper, the driver of the pickup truck, died at the scene, according to the report. Mike Skipper later died at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children.
The crash remains under investigation. FHP investigators say alcohol may have been a factor in the crash but they are awaiting toxicology reports from the other deceased driver to confirm.
“We have the suspicion because there was an empty keg in the vehicle, there were open containers in the vehicle. We will have to wait for the toxicology to come back,” said Lt. Kim Montes from the Florida Highway Patrol.
According to the GoFundMe for the family, the father and son were coming home from a family Fourth of July celebration when they were hit.
Osceola County School District officials said the 14-year-old was a student at St. Cloud Middle School. Grief counselors were available for students and staff Tuesday.
“They’re going to be very well missed,” Durinick said. “They were very well known no matter where they went.”
Angela Redman started a GoFundMe fundraiser for the surviving half of the family of four to help cover funeral expenses and the financial blow as Skipper was the family’s primary provider.
“No one is ever prepared to lose a loved one but when you lose two young healthy and vibrant men at the same time it’s completely life-shattering,” Redman wrote. “I ask everyone to please keep them in your prayers as they attempt to figure out how to carry on with their life after such a devastating loss.”
By Tuesday morning more than $40,000 of the $100,000 goal had been met.