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Family of Florida man killed in Knox County crash talks for the first time

BRADENTON, Fl. (WYMT/Bay News 9) - A Bradenton, Florida family spent their Christmas mourning the loss of their son and his wife after they were killed in a car accident in Kentucky.

Brent Robinson, 30, and his wife, Julia, 29, of Bradenton, spent the night Sunday at his parents’ Bradenton home enjoying Christmas dinner.

They flew out of St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport on Monday to see Julie’s parents in Kentucky.

Julia's parents, Gary Caldwell, 61, and his wife, Patricia, 58, picked them up at the airport.

The four were driving back to Julia's parents’ house to celebrate the holiday but it would end just a short way from Julia's parents’ home.

All four were killed in a fiery car crash in southeastern Kentucky at 5:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve. They were hit head-on by a car going in the wrong direction.

"He loved his wife,” said Don Robinson, Brent’s father. “He loved her more than anything. Wouldn't do anything without her."

We spoke with Don Robinson over the phone from his Bradenton home Tuesday night.

Don Robinson is a well-known former Major League Baseball pitcher who, over many years, played at McKechnie Field in Bradenton, the spring training home of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Don Robinson won the World Series with the Pirates in 1979.
He told us how Brent and his wife were inseparable, and how Julie would accompany Brent on business trips and how the two would go to games together, especially the Rays and the Giants.

"That's the way he was,” Don Robinson said. “Always thinking about the game and how he could win."

Meanwhile, at R.H. Prine Elementary School in Bradenton, the loss overshadows the holiday.

Julia, a speech teacher there for five years, was beloved by her students as well as administrators.

The principal, Dr. Guy Grimes, told us, “It’s like losing a sister. We’re heartbroken. We’ll keep on working to honor her. We lost a family member.”

As for Don Robinson, the tragedy is nearly incomprehensible.

"I keep thinking in my mind that 10 years from now, he's not going to be here,” Robinson said. “He's not going to be here so I can talk to him."

They are two families once brought together by love and now torn apart by tragedy.

Julia followed in her mother’s footsteps. Patty Caldwell was the assistant principal at a Kentucky Elementary School.

As for the Robinsons', they will leave the Bay area on Wednesday morning and head to Kentucky where they say Julia's mother and father will be buried.

Don Robinson will bring Brent and Julia Robinson back to Bradenton to be buried.

Police are looking to see if alcohol was a factor in the crash.

There’s no word right now on funeral arrangements either in Kentucky or in Bradenton.

Link to the original story from Bay News 9 in Tampa:

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