Witness recounts moments he dashed in to save Jacksonville family of 3 hit by suspected drunk driver in Tennessee

The man accused of fatally hitting a Northwest Jacksonville mother and 1-year-old child while they were visiting Tennessee made his first court appearance Tuesday.

Randy Vega, 41, of Tampa, is facing two counts of vehicular homicide by impairment and aggravated vehicular assault by impairment and other charges after Chattanooga police said he veered off the road and hit Ana Rodriguez, Jonathan Devia and Rodriguez’s husband Octavio Devia while the family of three was walking on the sidewalk on Frazier Avenue.

Police said Vega was drunk when he was speeding in a minivan before crashing into the family in front of a gift shop.

Rodriguez and her 1-year-old son died at the hospital. Her husband was listed in critical condition at the time of the crash. Rodriguez’s relatives said her husband came out of his coma four days ago but is still in critical condition with multiple injuries throughout his body.

A witness who did not want to be identified described the chaos he saw.

“They were going so fast; the truck was pushed through the intersection and the van veered off and then went straight into the front of the gift shop,” he said.

He said the chain of events happened so quickly that people didn’t react to the situation until after. He said he and two others tried to aid Rodriguez and her son.

“I didn’t even know the dad was there because he was on the passenger side of the van that hit the building. The mother and the baby were on the driver’s side,” he said. “Both the mother and the baby didn’t show signs of life.”

The Good Samaritan said Vega appeared dazed after someone helped him get out of the minivan.

In court on Tuesday, Judge Larry Ables expressed concerns about enforcing house arrest on Vega should he be let out of jail and allowed to return to Florida.

“Based on the affidavit I read. There is some suggestion that there was some kind of altercation after the fact. I’m concerned about this man’s ties to the community and the seriousness of these crimes,” Ables said.

Vega’s bond was set at half a million dollars.

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