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North Fort Myers family recalls awful I-75 car wreck

Mar. 14, 2013
I-75 crash devastates family
I-75 crash devastates family: Crystal and Christopher McClure discuss losing their unborn son. Video by Marisa Kendall/
Crystal McClure, with one-year-old Christopher McClure Jr. sleeping by her side, cries while talking about the death of her infant son. She was 22 weeks pregnant. / Marisa Kendall/

How to help

Kagan Law Firm has set up a Wells Fargo account in the McClures’ names, and donations to Crystal and Christopher will be accepted at any branch location.


The urn that holds Christian McClure is tiny — barely the length of his father’s thumb.

Christian’s mother, Crystal McClure, was 22 weeks pregnant Feb. 15 when an off-duty Florida Highway Patrol trooper rear-ended the family’s car on Interstate 75. Crystal, 28, and her husband, Christopher, 29, both of North Fort Myers, were thrown from the vehicle and Christian was stillborn the next day.

“They just told me I had lost him,” Crystal said, beginning to cry, “and there was nothing they could do.”

The McClures’ 1-year-old son, Christopher Jr., strapped into his car seat, escaped serious injury.

Gustavo Reyes, the FHP trooper who hit them, didn’t see the car in time and was driving in a careless or negligent manner, according to a FHP report. Reyes has been placed on desk duty pending charges that could follow an ongoing traffic homicide investigation.

“Everything is still under investigation at this time,” Lt. Chris Miller with FHP said, “and it would be inappropriate to make any comment.”

Crystal spoke to media for the first time Thursday from her bed at Lee Memorial Hospital, with both feet wrapped in gauze and metal rods protruding from her legs. It will take several more surgeries and 6 months to a year of rehabilitation before she can try to walk, said her attorney, Liz Kagan.

Crystal and Christopher were on their way to Bass Pro Shops for belated Valentine’s Day shopping when they were hit last month. They were near the Colonial Boulevard exit.

“We were driving down I-75 in the center lane, having a conversation, listening to the radio, and we (saw) a car flying up behind us,” Christopher said. “I remember the impact, and I remember throwing my arms over to try to catch my wife from going forward.”

He couldn’t keep his wife in the car.

“I went from the passenger seat to the driver’s seat and then out the windshield,” said Crystal, who remembers everything.

They were wearing seat belts, but both front belts in their Jeep Cherokee had a tendency to come unfastened , Christopher said. He had tried to fix the problem , but he didn’t have money for a professional.

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The day of the crash, the McClures had plans to buy a crib, stroller and car seat for Christian the following week with money from their tax return. Christian was the third pregnancy in a long road to starting a family, Christopher said. The two tried for five years before she first got pregnant, and then miscarried. After another two years of trying they had their son, Christopher Jr.

Christopher Sr. was overjoyed to add another boy to their family.

“I told everybody I knew about Christian and about how happy I was to have another son on the way,” he said. “I kept telling all my friends I got another fishing buddy.”

The crash punctured Crystal’s lungs, knocked out her teeth, fractured her hip socket and crushed her pelvis and both legs, Kagan said.

Christopher suffered five broken ribs and a broken collar bone. He is out of the hospital but is in pain and can’t return to his job at All Scrap Recycling.

So far the couple has accumulated $400,000 in medical bills, Kagan said. They have no insurance. Kagan Law Firm is helping the McClures look into taking legal action against FHP, but they have not released any final plans.

“Literally they live hand to mouth,” said Andy Kagan, who also is representing the McClures. “They have nothing.”

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