Facebook Domynick and Danycka Milis
A Wisconsin family's vacation to Florida took a deadly turn this week when a pair of siblings were tragically killed by a wrong-way driver.
Danycka and Domynick Milis were both "killed instantly" after the driver slammed head-on into their vehicle on Tuesday night while allegedly fleeing from police, according to a GoFundMe page set up on the family's behalf.
Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said Danycka, 18, and Domynick, 21, along with two children in the backseat, were on their way home from seeing a Christmas lights display at Daytona International Speedway when the fatal collision occurred.
The two children in the backseat — later identified as the siblings' younger brother Drake Milis, 13, and their cousin Kyley Larsen, 17 — both survived and were both transported to a hospital with injuries, the GoFundMe stated.
"I can't make sense of this or wrap my head around the last 20 hours," the siblings' mom, Tina Milis, wrote in an update on the fundraiser. "Domynick and Danycka were the best of friends and I am thankful they had each other on their journey to heaven."
GoFundMe Danycka and Domynick Milis with loved ones
During a press conference, captured by the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Chitwood confirmed that the incident unfolded around 7 p.m. after a suspect from an armed carjacking was spotted by authorities in a Walmart parking lot and fled the scene.
As the suspect — only identified as a 47-year-old man from Orlando — allegedly fled from police, he turned off his lights, drove at speeds reaching more than 110 miles per hour and eventually made a U-turn into oncoming traffic on the I-95, Chitwood said.
Though authorities made an effort to shut the I-95 down, it was tragically too late for the Milis siblings, who had missed their exit while following behind their parents' vehicle and, just moments later, were struck head-on by the fleeing driver.
"I don't know what you say to the family, this time of year. They have a great night of Christmas lights and their kids are murdered," Chitwood said of the Omro, Wisconsin family.
According to Chitwood, the suspect had 50 prior arrests and no driver's license at the time of the collision. He also noted that the suspect had been incarcerated eight times in state prison and had a criminal history of more than 200 pages, with crimes including carjacking, home invasion, robbery and grand theft.
CBS affiliate WKMG reported that the man also died in the collision.
A family is grieving today after a tragedy last night. 2 innocent young lives lost in a head-on crash w/ a fleeing suspect in an armed carjacking. Can't imagine their grief in facing a loss this painful - but praying they find the strength they will need. More to come on this. pic.twitter.com/wyJPFFaTgd
— Mike Chitwood (@SheriffChitwood) December 30, 2020
In the wake of the crash, GoFundMe pages were set up for the Milis family to assist with medical and funeral expenses, as well as Larsen, who is recovering from injuries in Orlando Regional Medical Center.
As of Friday, the fundraiser for the Milis family has raised more than $99,000 while Larsen's GoFundMe has raised over $17,000.
In an update on Dec. 30, Tina said her surviving son, Drake, was "alert" and recovering at Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital in Orlando, with injuries including a broken clavicle, fractured ribs, bruised lungs and a laceration to his bleeding left kidney.
"We are at his bedside and trying to help him make sense of this," she wrote, before going on to speak about Domynick and Danycka's legacy.
"Domynick and Danycka were both organ donors so someone will be able to see this beautiful world through their eyes, hear their heartbeat a bit stronger with new valves and walk a little taller with new veins," Tina wrote.
"Please continue to pray for all of us as we have no idea how we will go through life without 2 of the most amazing, caring, selfless human beings that I will forever be able to call my son and daughter," she continued. "I know they had so many waiting at the gates to welcome them home."
GoFundMe Kyley Larsen
Along with their mom, loved ones have also been paying tribute to Domynick and Danycka.
Carrie Hill, who set up the GoFundMe for the Milis family, told WKMG that the siblings both competed in track while growing up in Omro and enjoyed the sport so much that they pursued it in college.
"Domynick and Danycka just both loved to run and in fact they actually got scholarships for track," she explained to the outlet.
Family friend Art Eichmann spoke to the Daytona Beach News-Journal and called Domynick "a very nice young man [and] a very good soul."
"He was just a kind-hearted person who would always help anyone, and Danycka was certainly very much the same," he told the outlet, adding that Domynick wanted to become an elementary school teacher while Danycka was planning to study nursing.
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On Facebook, tributes also continued to pour in from Domynick and Danycka's friends and family — many of whom changed their profile pictures to a photo of the siblings with their arms around each other with "Milis Strong" written across the image.
"2 people who had so much life ahead of them. 2 people that embraced life, and would do anything for anyone who needed it," wrote Kristine Boegh. "They were sincere and selfless people who cared about their community."
"Omro has lost 2 people who have made a difference in their community. They were always willing to find you and talk, and they were huggers," Boegh continued. "That is what I will miss the most - their conversations and their hugs!"
In a separate post, Domynick's former coach Kyle Van Damme wrote: "Domynick and Danycka were some of the most amazing young adults I know... Their family is one of the very best, most supportive, and closest I know."
"I was hoping to make a positive impact and a difference in Dom's life as a coach and role model... But I know now that he made an impact on my life," Van Damme added.