Lakeland, Fla. - Behind dark tinted sunglasses Adrian Deshazor worked to hold back tears.
"This is a great loss. I'm still numb, in shock. I can't believe this happened," he told ABC Action News Saturday afternoon. "We're still trying to figure out exactly what caused them to lose control," he said.
Deshazor said his brother in-law Wilfredo Malave, or as he knew him Willie, was driving home from picking up his kids, 9 year old Zion, 7 year old Phoenix and 2 year old Avaya from their mother's house. They never made it to his Lakeland home.
"He was a great dad. His kids looked up to him. He loved those kids," he said.
The Florida Highway Patrol said Malave lost control of his Mercedes for unknown reasons on State Road 33. He drove between a pole and a tree, went airborne and after hitting more trees came to a stop.
"My heart still doesn't understand how somebody could just be there one day and then the next day they are all gone," said friend Donna Yale.
Yale said her heart broke after hearing the news. She has known the Malave's for 10 years.
"I can't go down and hold anybody. I can't do anything," she said.
Yale remembered Willie as a kind man who was willing to do anything for anyone, and his three kids as little angels.
"I know they are in heaven now and I just pray that Christie (the children's mother) gets through all this," she said.
Deshazor said his family's strength will hold them together through this tragedy as troopers continue to investigate.
"Through our faith, and through each other and our love we are going to get through this tough time," said Deshazor.