THOMASVILLE, Ala. (WALA) – The town of Thomasville in Clarke County is mourning the death of a retired school teacher, and her grandchildren.
Diane Downey, along with her two grandchildren. died in a wreck in northwest Florida on Tuesday. The crash happened on Interstate 10 near Tallahassee.
No one is hurting more than Diane Downey’s grieving husband. He lost the love of his life and his two grandchildren, who were his pride and joy. Scotty Downey said with the prayers of the community, and God’s help, he hopes to get through his pain. Downey said it’s hard to believe his wife of 44 years is gone, along with his two grandchildren.
“She got me up around 4 o’clock yesterday morning at fixed my breakfast. She said she was leaving around 9 or 9:30. They loaded up at left,” he said.
Downey said his wife Diane left for Jacksonville on Tuesday. It was her second trip this year to visit her daughter. She wanted to take 10-year-old Brooke, and 8-year-old Nathan to see their relatives before they returned to school next week, but they never made it.
“At 3:06, Brooke text my daughter and said they was close, but at 3:08 they were dead,” he said.
Downey said he received a call from Florida Highway Patrol Wednesday explaining his wife was in the far lane on Interstate 10 when she attempted to change lanes. The accident report states the left rear of Downey’s car collided with the right front of a second vehicle. Downey’s car went into a spin and collided with a semi in the opposite lanes.
“She was a good driver. She’d made the trip many times before, of course that don’t mean anything, you know what I mean,” Scotty Downey said.
Downey said his wife’s and grandchildren’s bodies will be returned to Thomasville on Thursday. That is also when the family hopes to complete funeral arraignments. Diane Downey celebrated her 64th birthday on Saturday.
Diane Downey retired from Thomasville Elementary several years ago, but principal Dawn Gillis said she substituted at the school where her grandchildren attended.
“By 8 o’clock everybody knew what had happened. We all started praying, and pulling together as a family, because this is a great loss,” Gillis said.