One Jacksonville, Florida, family felt the sting of loss two times this fall, exactly three months apart.
On Dec. 1 at approximately 1:15 a.m., parents Jason and Shawnee Penkacik lost their 25-year-old son Dalton Penkacik in a hit-and-run accident as he was walking to his job at an Amazon delivery center, The Florida Times Union reported.
According to a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office briefing, Dalton was found by Jacksonville police officers who were responding to a separate call and noticed a man in his mid-20s lying in the southbound lane of Blanding Boulevard.
The scene of the accident was just 2.5 miles away from where the Penkacik family lost their 12-year-old son, Brighton Penkacik, who was also killed in a crash exactly three months earlier.
While commenting on Brighton in an interview with Times-Union, Shawnee Penkacik said that her 12-year-old son “was the brightest light in our family of 12 kids. He had abundant joy and because he walked to school, [he] is gone way too soon.”
Jacksonville police say Brighton Penkacik was being chased by a dog while on his way to the school bus when he ran out into the street and was struck by a driver. Unlike in the case of older brother Dalton, the driver stayed at the scene and cooperated with police.
Horrifically, one of Brighton and Dalton’s brothers was with Brighton at the time of the accident and had to witness the tragic event.
Three months later, after identifying the body of their 25-year-old son hours after the accident, Jason Penkacik wrote in a Facebook post, “Every day is a blessing! Hug your kids and tell them you love them. This morning my 25 year old son Dalton Penkacik (on the left) was killed walking to work in a hit and run. This is the three month anniversary of his 12 year old brother Brighton dying walking in his way to school.”
“This has been such a tough year and I appreciate any prayers for our family because they are needed.”
“I don’t understand how someone could hit and leave our son in the road” Shawnee Penkacik in an interview with WOKV.
“Dalton was caring, compassionate, kind, hardworking, a pillar in our family, a great big brother,” she continued.
Remarkably, and resiliently, it is through their faith that the family is able to find strength.
“This has impacted our family and in a way that’s difficult to recover from, but we know we will because we have strong faith and we know God will see us through,” the grieving mother said.
In speaking with First Coast News, Jason Penkacik echoed his wife’s words: “You know tomorrow will be there. You know you’ll get through it. It’s just kind of hard seeing how that will happen, and that’s where you have to have the faith and the trust in God that He, He’ll get you there.”
While the level of loss the family is experiencing is unfathomable, so too is their exhibition of strength in spirit.
While it may be easy to ask “why?” and question how something so horrific can happen to young and undeserving people, the Penkacik’s have chosen to put their trust and faith in their Lord and understand that while tragic, their loss is part of a plan beyond our understanding.
Jacksonville Police believe the car involved in the hit and run to be a Volkswagen based on evidence left at the scene, WOKV reported.
Should anyone in the Jacksonville area have any information related to this incident, they’re asked to please contact JSO at (904) 630-0500 or Crimestoppers at 866-845-TIPS.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.