MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. -- Three families, nearly a dozen coworkers, and countless friends of three men killed in a car crash Monday continue to grieve.
Carlos "Nelson" Maldonado, Abel Perez Hernandez and Odilon Velaquez-Morales were killed in a head-on collision on the Beeline Highway Monday morning in Martin County.
Tuesday night, loved ones of Hernandez and Morales paid tribute to the men at a Rosary Service at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Indiantown.
Family of Hernandez told WPTV about the close bond between the three men, and the tremendous loss they are feeling.
“Me and by brothers were talking, it’s like we’re still waiting for him to come back to our house,” said Hernandez’ Nephew. “He was a wonderful man. Anytime I needed a favor, he would be there.”
Hernandez leaves behind a 9-year-old daughter. All of the men had children.
The men were riding to work together Monday morning, as they have countless times over the years. Coworkers of the men say Hernandez and Maldonado were extremely close, working together for more than 15 years. Morales worked with the men for at least 5 years, all carpooling together during that time.
“We never knew yesterday was going to be the last day doing that,” said Hernandez’ nephew.
The men worked in construction for Optimum Services, Inc.
They were heading to a job site for a new WaWa in West Palm Beach.
“They were never late,” said James Faris, Partner at Optimum Services Inc.
That is when coworkers knew something was wrong.
Faris tried to call them.
“Nobody answered the phone. My partner called me and said Indiantown is messed up, there’s been a bad accident.”
They learned the accident killed three of their coworkers. An enormous loss, they say, for a small company that is like a family.
“You couldn’t ask for three better guys,” said site Superintendent, Carl Moody.
“They would give you the shirt off their backs,” said coworker Jeremy Jordan
“I’m grateful to have met them in my life. They’d definitely give you the shirts off their back,” said coworker Gavin Wilinski.
“Very, very hard to replace,” said Faris.
Friend of the men say their families need help affording funeral costs and other expenses. That includes sending Hernandez’ body back to Mexico, and helping pay for his daughter’s future college expenses.
They’re asking anyone who can to contribute to the following GoFundMeaccount: