Woman Tries to Kill Herself and Sons by Colliding Head-On With Semi-Tanker
Gainesville, FL – A Florida woman attempted to kill herself and her two young autistic sons by colliding into a semi-tanker on Friday along US-441.
According to the Gainesville Police Department (GPD), 48-year-old Melissa Gail Mack loaded her sons, ages 4 and 6, into their van and set out on a suicide and murder mission with the intent to collide head-on with a semi-truck.
GPD investigators say Mack was traveling in the northbound lanes at approximately 5:14 p.m. when she moved over into the southbound lanes in front of a semi-tanker carrying 330 gallons of fuel.
The truck’s driver, Paul Dale Hackbarth, quickly swerved to avoid the oncoming van and successfully averted a crash.
However, officials say Mack then made a u-turn at a nearby intersection and once again sped up aiming right for the rear of the tanker.
Moments later, Mack’s van plowed into the rear of the tanker, causing the van’s engine to catch fire and the front and back windshields to be smashed out.
Investigators say Mack and the children were entrapped in the vehicle as Hackbarth, along with others who stopped to help, pulled Mack and her children to safety.
Thankfully, the children were physically unharmed as “neither sustained any visible injuries,” according to the GPD.
However, police say the boys were emotionally distressed.
“They both were very upset by the incident,” the GPD wrote in its report.
Officials say both boys are currently in the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families.
As for Mack, she was arrested and charged with three counts of premeditated attempted homicide in the first degree — one for each victim, her two boys and the truck driver.
According to court records, the charges are a capital felony.
Mack Told A Friend Of Her Intentions
GPD investigators also revealed Mack told a long-time friend earlier on Friday she intended to kill herself and her boys because it was “God’s will.”
Further, according to the arrest report, Mack told her friend she was ‘afraid’ and to say goodbye to her boys.
Investigators say Mack later admitted to remembering the conversation with her friend earlier in the day, but would not elaborate on the details of what was discussed.
The friend reportedly told police she tried to call Mack a few hours after that conversation but got no response.
She says she then heard about the crash from another friend, according to officials.
Mack is being held at the Alachua County Jail on a total bond of $900,000.