Father of toddlers killed in car crash shares family’s last moments
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - On Sunday, one-year-old Ja’Rell and two-year-old Ja’Reese left church with their mother Jasilyn Gardner when impaired driver Angela Chapman caused a crash killing the two toddlers.
“They didn’t make it back home to me,” said Justice Hunter, father of Ja’Rell and Ja’Reese. “That particular morning, they were so happy. They were patient to eat.”
Hunter and Gardner found their rhythm in taking care of their growing family. Hunter’s morning routine consisted of working at the gym and coming home to cook breakfast for his boys.
“That was the last breakfast I got to make,” said Hunter.
Hunter’s last memory of Sunday’s breakfast is polarized. He captured the moment of one-year-old Ja’Rell and two-year-old Ja’Reese in their high chairs smiling.
“Family is everything to me,” said Hunter. “Family is that one can’t choose. That’s how you get through your life. They are your strength and heartbeat. Your family is your family.”
Jasilyn Gardner, the toddlers’ mother, is recovering from her injuries. She is also eight weeks pregnant.
“My woman is doing better than anyone could expect right now,” said Hunter. “She just got up and got her ultrasound. I didn’t think she would be walking this soon. I want to thank my woman for being so strong. We are fighting for the baby in there. That’s what I need.”
The community support for the Hunter-Gardner family is growing. On Wednesday, Justice’s aunt set up a GoFundMe account for funeral and medical expenses. Since then, they have exceeded their goal of $10,000.
“I haven’t checked it,’ said Hunter as he fought back tears, “My support system is telling me to check it and saying they got me. But I don’t want to check.”
Hunter says the healing and grieving process is challenging, but he’s taking it day by day. They hope no family experiences the pain the Hunter-Gardner feels for the loss of one-year-old Ja’Rell and two-year-old Ja’Reese at the expense of an impaired driver.
Within days of the deadly crash, a grand jury indicted Angela Chapman for the crash that killed two Hunter brothers and injured their pregnant mother.
Chapman’s next court date is November 29.
“Drinking and driving have to be stopped,” said Hunter. “You know my name, Justice Hunter. I want Justice. It has to be stopped.”
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