Single mom of four dies in what deputies call 'freak accident'

Citrus County mom gets trapped by Palmetto roots
Posted at 6:32 PM, Dec 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-02 18:32:27-05

A family of five was devastated after their mother died in what Citrus County deputies are calling a "freak accident."

We know the victim is 58-year-old Linda Steve. She died after her car got caught in palmetto roots and caught fire.

Early Monday morning, deputies found a burning car with a body inside.

“I thought somebody had gotten killed over there. Murdered you know?” said neighbor Stephanie Andrews.

Many Citrus County residents thought the same thing about the suspicious death investigation in Crystal River.

“I didn’t hear revving, screaming, horn honking. Any sort of distress," she said.

Dental records identified the victim as as Linda Steve.

“She would do anything for anyone. She’d give you the shirt off her back if she had to," said her youngest son, Michael Steve.

Then, the family heard the bizarre cause.

“Her doors were both jammed and she couldn’t get out," he explained.

Investigators believe she was trying to turn her car around on a dirt road off Sunshine Path. But when she backed up, her undercarriage got trapped by the large palmetto roots. Then her car caught fire. What sparked it is still under investigation.

“Just knowing that she’s with God, it’s a peaceful thought," said her daughter, Cindy Steve.

Peace was not easy for the family after hearing of Linda's heartbreaking last moments. Instead they’re now focusing on the thought that she’s no longer in pain.

“That’s like the thing that I keep thinking about that gets me through each day," sobbed Cindy.

The fire was so powerful, it scorched 30 feet around Linda's car. Now her children have their own powerful message for our families.

“Love them and just cherish the time you have with them because you never know when it’ll be over," said Michael.