Wish they had gotten this guy off the road before it happened again.
http://www.news-journalonline.com/NewsJ ... 122609.htm
December 26, 2009
Couple die in Christmas Eve crash
By JULIE MURPHY
A Port Orange couple was killed Christmas Eve in a car crash on Taylor Road.
Brett Gerken, 56, died at the scene of the crash on Taylor Road at Spruce View Way. His wife, Renee Gerken, 49, was transported to Halifax Health Medical Center and died later, according to Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Kim Montes.
The Gerkens -- who lived in Spruce Creek Fly-In -- were traveling west on Taylor when a car driven by Christopher T. Price, 35, of South Daytona, traveling east, crossed into the path of the Gerkens, a report states. Brett Gerken, the reported driver, tried to avoid the crash by driving onto the shoulder.
Price, who court records show was arrested on Dec. 20, 1995, in Marion County for DUI manslaughter hit the Gerkens' car, entrapping and killing Brett Gerken. Price was taken to Halifax with serious injuries.
No information was available Friday about Price's condition, but he was charged while in the hospital with issuing worthless checks on Nov. 17 and 18, court records show. He was also arrested in June for resisting a police officer without violence.
The crash remains under investigation by the Florida Highway Patrol and charges are pending, Montes said.
Brett Gerken, a well-known builder in the area, owned Gerken Construction. Among his better-known custom homes is one he built for actor John Travolta, who has since moved to Ocala. In the late '90s, he also rehabilitated the old Western Sizzlin' restaurant on Mason Avenue, transforming it into the All Family Clinics.
Renee Gerken also worked in the family business.
"They were ideal neighbors," John Tokar said. "We've known them the 14 years we've lived here, and they were fine people who didn't deserve this tragedy."
The Gerkens' only daughter, Courtney, 19, could hardly utter a word Christmas Day except to say she was with family and friends.
"I don't know what to say," she said in a telephone interview as she choked back tears. "They were on their way home from Walmart to get an avocado."
Tokar, who is among the friends and neighbors who stopped by the family home to check on the teenager, said the family was close knit.
"She was especially close to her father," he said. "They were pals."
Brett Gerken, a captain who used to own a charter boat called Teaser out of Ponce Inlet, taught his daughter to fish. At 13 in 2003, she shattered a women's International Junior Angler record when she caught a 31.75-pound African pompano while fishing with her father.
"Their daughter is just devastated," Tokar said. "These were very good people who did everything right in life. It's a tragedy they didn't deserve. Poor Courtney is going to need to be made of steel for the next couple of years."