To the Moyers, 13-year-old Hailey and 8-year-old Sophia were everything, friends said.
“Their kids were their world; they were very involved and supportive parents and just wanted the best for them,” a family friend, Loni Burnside Eaton, told the Orlando Sentinel. “They wanted the girls to experience Disney and the beach.”
Late last week, the family made the 15-hour drive from Leadwood, Mo., to Orlando — and to the famed resort.
From Disney, they posted a family photo on Facebook; it showed them posing with “Buzz Lightyear” at the theme park, Eaton told the Sentinel.
But as the Moyers made the long drive back to Missouri, tragedy struck.
On Sunday, the family was heading eastbound on Interstate 4, planning to make one last stop at the beach, the Sentinel reported.
For unknown reasons, a Ford Focus in the center lane began drifting into the Moyers’s lane, according to police. The driver of the Ford struck the Moyers’s Nissan, causing the family to drive off the highway — and into a tree, police said.
The crash killed Greg and Sarah Moyers at the scene. Both Hailey and Sophia were seriously injured and were taken to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando.
As of Tuesday, Hailey was listed in critical condition and Sophia was listed in stable condition, according to a hospital spokesman.
Everyone in the Moyers family’s car was wearing a seat belt, police said. The other driver, 43-year-old Charles King of New London, N.C., was not injured. A preliminary report determined that alcohol was not a factor in the crash.
Sgt. Kim Montes, a Florida Highway Patrol spokeswoman, said that the accident remains under investigation and that a final police report will not be complete for several days.
“The girls don’t know what happened to [their parents] yet; everyone is on their way down there and that’s when they’ll tell them,” Eaton told the Sentinel on the day of the crash. “It’s just devastating.”
The tragedy struck a nerve for friends and neighbors in Leadwood, a rural town with fewer than 2,000 residents, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. Tributes to the Moyers family have poured in on Facebook, particularly on the page for Moyers Muffler & Auto, including some from those who said they did not know the family personally.
“I just read the article about what happened and it [just] breaks my heart,” one person wrote. “Looking through some of the photos of the family and I’m sitting here crying knowing that these girls have lost their parents. I’m so sorry this has happened to you guys.”
Jason Nash, a friend of the family, described Greg and Sarah Moyers as “two of the most giving people you could’ve ever met” on a GoFundMe page he set up to raise money for the surviving daughters.
“They welcomed everyone into their home and within minutes of talking to either of them you knew that they genuinely would do anything to help,” Nash wrote. “Family was everything to them.”
In one day, the page raised more than $25,000 — money, Nash said, that “will be used to help support these two girls as they take on life without the two people that loved them the most.”