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Fatal crash defendant kept in jail; victims' families start fund for children

More than 15 family members filed into Courtroom 23 on Tuesday afternoon, wearing shirts that said "In Loving Memory" and "Gone But Not Forgotten."

They faced a screen with a live feed from the jail that showed Marquice Anderson, the man police said caused a fiery crash early Thursday that killed three of their cousins, daughters and nieces.

Through a microphone, Anderson asked Judge Nancy Mote Ley if any of his family members were in the room.

"Nope," one of the victim's relatives said.

Anderson's attorney, Dyril Flanagan, said he asked Anderson's family not to come. He heard the victim's relatives planned to attend and did not want any confrontations. The mothers of the three women were there Tuesday, the family's attorney, Darryl Rouson, said.

Police said Anderson was driving a rented Chrysler south on 16th Street in the wrong lane when he hit a 2004 Saturn carrying cousins Briana Campbell, 23 and Jamesia Santoria, 21 and their aunt, Grace Collier, 25. Campbell and Santoria died at the scene; Collier died Friday at Tampa General Hospital.

On Tuesday, the judge ordered that Anderson continue to be held in the jail. While Anderson's bond on charges of vehicular homicide, leaving the scene of an accident involving death and driving with a suspended license involving death was set at $170,000, he isn't eligible for release because he also faces a probation violation from an earlier drug charge.

"He took something precious from my heart, that I have to live with," said Cheryl Newson, Collier's mother and Campbell and Santoria's grandmother. "But I'm not angry."

Newson said she was "blessed" when, about 11:20 a.m. Monday, Anderson turned himself in. The family spent the weekend wondering if he would leave the state.

The women left behind six children ranging in age from 1 to 6. Collier's sons are 2 and 6. Campbell had a 1-year-old son and 3-year-old twins, a boy and a girl. Santoria's son is 5.

"We have six children now that the family has to assist and support them through this," said Cora Omarie, the women's aunt.

After the hearing, the family gathered to announce that it set up a foundation to care for the children, called Three Angels with Six Blessings Foundation. Donations will be accepted at Bank of America and at the Zion Hill Mortuary.

A wake is planned for today at Old Landmark Cathedral Church of God in Christ. The triple funeral will be Saturday at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church.

"We now have to move forward with getting them put to rest," Omarie said.

Contact Claire Wiseman at cwiseman@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8804. Follow her @clairelwiseman.

Fatal crash defendant kept in jail; victims' families start fund for children 07/01/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 1, 2014 9:48pm]
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