Witness 'devastated' by crash that killed 6

By Hailey Winslow, General assignment reporter, hwinslow@wjxt.com
Christopher Yazbec, News editor, News4Jax.com, cyazbec@wjxt.com
Published On: Jan 15 2014 04:24:19 PM EST
Updated On: Jan 15 2014 08:10:26 PM EST

A Jacksonville man who took the stand during the trial of a driver accused in a deadly crash says he thinks the driver's potential sentence is too severe. Earlier in the week, Nassau County jury convicted 42-year-old Pedro Alcazar on six counts of vehicular homicide. Alcazar served as his own attorney, and will learn his sentence next month. He was charged in a April 2010 crash, along US 1 north of Callahan. The wreck killed six members of one extended family - two adults, and four children.

YULEE, Fla. -

Four years later the memories of the crash still haunt James Grayer.

"It was real devastating to me to even see that," he said. "I've never experienced anything like that in my life. They were crushed."

Grayer is talking about the crash in which six members of an extended family were killed on U.S. Highway 1 north of Callahan. He remembers the Mitchells' Nissan passing him on U.S. 1 and he thought, "What a nice family."

Seconds later, everyone in the car was dead.

Pedro Alcazar, 42, was convicted Tuesday on six counts of vehicular homicide for causing the crash. Prosecutors said he was driving recklessly.

Grayer said he was driving his truck when Alcazar came speeding up behind him, weaving in between Grayer and a white van. Grayer said Alcazar stayed in position there for a minute, then tried to go in between the Mitchells' Nissan and the white van, but there was not enough space.

Once he tried to go through them is when Alcazar and the MItchells lost control, Grayer said. They both went into the median and then both ended up in the northbound lane, facing oncoming traffic, with a white truck coming at them.

Alcazar went off to the side and the Mitchells went back into the median. Then the white truck went off into the median as well and hit the Mitchells' car, Grayer said.

The Mitchells' Nissan flipped over, and the white truck went straight up in the air and came down on top of the Nissan, crushing it.

Grayer raced over, pulled out the couple stuck in their truck and checked on the family of six in the Nissan.

"The teenage girl, when she died, she died with her head laying on her grandmama," Grayer said. "They were already gone."

Grayer told the jury Alcazar's poor driving led to the crash. But because Alcazar was not the one who hit the Mitchells' car, Grayer thinks a sentence of 55 years to life in prison is extreme.

"I wish I could have helped this guy out as much as I could have, because my heart did go out to him because I knew what they were going to do to him," Grayer said. "And when I found out he didn't have an attorney, I knew he didn't have a chance."

A sentencing hearing for Alcazar is set for Feb. 13.

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