Elroy McConnell II wanted his family to meet his 4-month-old grandson. So he and his wife rented a St. Pete Beach house for the week and invited their three sons and their families.
But the family gathering ended tragically early Sunday morning after a drunken driver ran a red light and killed McConnell and his three sons, according to St. Petersburg police.
McConnell and his sons - Elroy McConnell III, 28, Kelly McConnell, 19, and Nathan McConnell, 24 - were coming from a late-night movie about 12:45 a.m. when their 2010 Ford Fusion was hit at the corner of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street North and 22nd Avenue North. The women weren't in the car because they'd gone to see the movie during the day.
The news rocked family members.
"Not many of (the McConnells) left," said Bill English, Roy McConnell III's father-in-law.
"It's a lot to think about. As far as holding up, it isn't too easy."
The McConnells were driving west on 22nd Avenue when Demetrius Jordan, 20, of St. Petersburg, blew through the red light at the intersection, heading south on Martin Luther King Street North in a 2001 Chevy Impala, a police report states. The impact sent the Fusion crashing into the sign at the corner 7-Eleven.
Police arrested Jordan, 2220 14th Ave. S., on four charges of DUI manslaughter and one count of DUI with serious bodily injury. He and a passenger, Mario Robinson, 20, of St. Petersburg were taken to Bayfront Medical Center with injuries police described as serious. Jordan has no prior arrests in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
McConnell, 51, and his wife, Amy Voelker, were from Orlando, as were Nathan and Kelly McConnell, who turned 19 Friday. Elroy McConnell III and his wife came from New Orleans with their son, Elroy McConnell IV.
The elder McConnell was an accountant who founded a startup venture known as iCFO, which provides audit services for companies.
His eldest son, Elroy McConnell III, was training to become a manager at JCPenney, English said. He and his wife, Sandie English McConnell, met at Louisiana College in Pineville, La., and married about two years ago. English described his son-in-law as quiet and a loving husband and father.
Kelly McConnell was studying at the University of Miami and was scheduled to graduate in 2013, according to his Facebook page. He played rugby, loved football and his girlfriend and cherished his family.
"They're all really great and unconditionally supportive," McConnell wrote on his Facebook page.
Hours before the wreck that claimed his life, McConnell's father seemed excited about spending the week with his family.
"This is the best idea we have had in years," McConnell wrote on his Facebook page. "I think Amy and I at least will be doing this again in the future."
English said they were a wonderful family.
"They were great people," he said. "They were close together as a family, very close."