Updated Wednesday, 12 p.m. EST
NAPLES (FBW)-The former children’s minister at Bay Street Baptist Church in Eustis, Cecilia Renee Douglas, 33, was killed along with her daughters Madison, 4, and Rylee, 3, after their car crashed through a barrier on Alligator Alley Jan. 21, according to news reports.
Family spokesman Donald Eagle said Nathan Douglas held his daughter “just trying to be as close to her as he can.”
“The scar will be in his life forever. His faith will carry him through this, but it’s still something he’ll have to grow and learn and become a different kind of man from,” he said.
Cecilia Douglas, a member of First Baptist Church in Mount Dora, recently moved from Immokalee, near Mount Dora, with her husband and daughters to near Naples, where he is employed by Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Douglas, according to a news report, was westbound on 1-75 near mile marker 88 with four-year old Madison and three-year old Rylee, both in car seats, in her 2005 Lexus. Just before 8:30 a.m., Douglas’ car hit another and veered off the road, according to the account, and proceeded through a set of barricade cables and flipped before landing in a canal.
It took rescuers 30 minutes before they were able to smash the windows of the vehicle and get Douglas and the children out, the report said. They were not breathing on their own and were taken to Physicians Regional Hospital.
Don Miller, Lake County Baptist Association director of missions, said prayer is needed for everyone involved.
“It’s a heartbreaking situation,” Miller said. “All of us are shocked, and we are all praying for them. In this life we know that life is very uncertain. This morning I was reading in Matthew 19 where Jesus said, ‘[s]uffer little children, and forbid them not to come unto me ... .’ It’s a very precious family and it’s hurt everybody.
“Right now the biggest thing to do is to just pray,” he said.
Nathan Douglas’ father, Mark was the former pastor of Bay Street Baptist Church. He is currently the victim’s advocate with the Lake County Sheriff’s Department. He and his wife, Karen, are members of First Baptist Church in Mount Dora.
A memorial fund for the family has been set up through SunTrust Bank, account #15780900.
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