A community in Florida was devastated when a young mother of five and two of her children died when their minivan drove into a pond late Saturday.
Shatoria Michelle Brown, 27, was driving in Immokalee when she crossed a street and continued into the water. Her children Ra'Majesty Johnson, 5, and Ra'Layah Johnson, 3, were in the car and died, reported NBC-2.
Friends and family members of Brown were shocked and saddened to hear the news.
“To hear that they drowned it was a big shocker. It's not anything that anyone would expect to wake up to,” family friend Rudy Martinez told NBC.
Martinez, who owns Rudy’s BBQ and Catering along with his wife, plans to sell plates at his local business and donate the profits to Brown’s family for funeral expenses.
“In times of need, we are all we have, and this is why I love to do what I do here,” Martinez told the local news station.
Although the Florida Highway Patrol has reported drugs and alcohol were not a factor in the crash, state troopers are still investigating exactly how the minivan ended up in the pond. In the meantime, friends and family members are not rushing to conclusions.
“People make up their own stories, and to me, I don't want to make an opinion to anything, so leave it at that,” Martinez told NBC.
The crash investigation could take up to 60 days.
Several residents along Eden Avenue, where the crash took place, said they did not hear any braking or tire squealing at the time of the reported incident. The road, which recently opened after construction, has seen an influx in traffic and higher speeds, reported the Naples Daily News.
“They need to do something,” one neighbor told the Naples Daily News. “There’s one stop sign for a four-way stop. This used to be a dead end, but now that people start to realize that it’s connected, traffic’s going to get heavy.”
(Photo: WBBH, NBC 2 Fort-Myers)