The tape ran low, but Charisse Dyer wasn't finished wrapping presents.
The 35-year-old radiation therapist hustled to Walgreens around 1:30 a.m. Saturday and was on her way back home when she saw two orange lights in her rearview mirror.
The lights got closer and eventually passed her. They belonged to an SUV. The vehicle's actual headlights weren't on, she said.
Three or four minutes later, Dyer came upon an accident scene, where three passengers in a golf cart died and a fourth was critically injured.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
The same SUV that had passed her, a 1999 Jeep Cherokee, was on its side, its undercarriage visible to Dyer as she approached.
She parked her car and examined the wreckage before calling 911. What was left of the golf cart lay scattered all over the road, the roof nowhere near the cart's frame. She could see three bodies, she said, and learned later a fourth was concealed behind the Jeep. The silence was eerie.
"I knew something was wrong the second I got out of my car and nobody was making a sound," she said. "You expect to hear somebody screaming."
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the Jeep and the E-Z-GO golf cart were headed south on Monte-verde Drive. The Jeep, driven by Victor Valdez Jr., 32, of Spring Hill, hit the back of the cart on the narrow street with no light poles, overturning the cart just after 2 a.m. All four people in the cart were ejected, troopers said.
Passengers Jennifer Boudreau, 36, Leah Marie Kurasz, 28, and Robert Frederikson, 48, all of Spring Hill, died at the scene.
Scott Blair Wilson, 23, of Spring Hill, who was driving the golf cart, was transported to Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point in critical condition, according to the Highway Patrol. Wilson's family couldn't be reached for comment.
Valdez was not injured. Alcohol did not contribute to the crash, troopers said. No charges had been filed Saturday, though the incident was still under investigation.
A man who identified himself as Valdez's brother said Valdez was not interested in talking to a reporter Saturday afternoon.
It's not uncommon for Shady Hills residents to ride golf carts or four-wheelers on the road, said Max Roush, 23, whose family lives on Monteverde Drive right at the scene of the crash.
He and his younger brother had been installing a sound system into his brother's car and had gone inside no more than 10 minutes before hearing a loud boom.
They ran from their house to help, but were startled to hear three pops in quick succession, Roush said. They thought the driver of the Jeep was shooting at them, they said, but realized he was using pliers to break the passenger side window to escape, as the SUV was on the driver's side.
Roush, who works for Waste Management in Okeechobee and was visiting his family for Christmas, pointed out late Saturday morning where on the street the bodies had been positioned. The road, which has a 30-mph speed limit, was marked with scars that stretched more than 100 feet, and dark stains on the asphalt, Roush said, were left by blood.
He described checking on a woman and realizing she was dead.
The crash left three families grieving during a time of celebration and gift giving.
Christine Kurasz, 50, recalled her daughter, Leah, as a free spirit.
"She loved life," Kurasz said. "She didn't have many fears."
Leah Kurasz had a learning and hearing disability, her father, Michael said. But she took it in stride.
"She felt God gave those to her so she could help others," he said.
Harold Gillette, a Colorado resident who is Frederikson's ex-father-in-law, said his son-in-law had worked as a mechanic and was always working on cars.
"He was a very pleasant person, I guess you could say an easygoing guy," Gillette said. "He had lots of friends and was well liked. This is a real shock."
For the Boudreau family, said Jennifer's older brother Jeff Boudreau, Christmas has been tarnished forever. Jennifer's children, 9-year-old Nathan and 7-year-old Sierra, hadn't quite grasped what happened yet.
"It'll hit them when they wake up ( this morning) and Mommy isn't there for Christmas," said Jeff Boudreau, 41.
The mother, a trained veterinary technician, was between jobs when the crash occurred. But she made sure her children didn't want for anything, her brother said.
He didn't know what would happen with the children, whether Jennifer's ex-husband would assert his parental right to Nathan, or if the children would live with their grandparents.
"Right now, the kids are going to keep my mom and dad going," he said. "Without them, they're going to be a basket case."
Jeff Boudreau described the crash like a bad dream.
"When you get woken up like that — it wasn't even by a phone call," he said. "It was my dad sitting in my kitchen crying, telling me my sister was gone."