Bradenton couple killed in car crash in Kentucky

Christmas Eve collison in Kentucky kills 5

BRADENTON, Fla. - Nan Morrison will always remember the days when her kids used to play with the Robinson family.  Her husband, Jim Morrison, became friends with Don Robinson when they played Major League Baseball together with the Chicago White Sox in the early 1980s. Their children grew up together.

"Brent was the happiest kid you'd ever meet," Morrison said. "He always had a smile on his face."

Brent Robinson, 30, was killed in a head-on collision near Flat Lick, Kentucky on Christmas Eve. His wife, 29-year old Julia Robinson, along with both her parents, Gary and Patty Caldwell, also died in the crash.  

Kentucky State Police said alcohol was a factor when David Vanderpool crossed the median and rammed into the car carrying the four passengers. Estimates had the 31-year-old's Ford Taurus traveling near 90 miles per hour. Vanderpool was killed after the impact.

"I just think that everybody's numb with shock and just stunned because it's just the worst thing that could ever happen to a family," Morrison said.

Don Robinson, a former Pittsburgh Pirate who pitched a winning game in the 1979 World Series, traveled to Kentucky to help handle funeral arrangements.  

"We're heartbroken," said Guy Grimes, the principal at R.H. Prine Elementary School in Bradenton. "It was like losing a sister."

Julia Robinson had been a speech therapist at the school for five years. Many of the staff and students heard about her sudden death on Christmas Day.

Brent Robinson was a graduate of Manatee High School and the University of South Florida. He worked in computers at Emerson Electric. When his dad was a pro baseball player, he had the opportunity to be a bat boy in major league games.

"They had a great life. They've been all over, you know, with baseball," Morrison said.

Brent married Julia in 2009, and friends described them as inseparable.

"They were just a match made in heaven. They were perfect for each other," Morrison said.  

Morrison said they were still taking it in the day after Christmas.

"Just grief stricken," she said.  "Just going through the motions at this point."

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