Originally created 07/24/02

Anniversary turns tragic for couple in Florida



JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Thirty-nine years ago, Wayne and Nancy Fisher took a vow to love and cherish each other for however long they lived.

By all accounts, they fulfilled that promise.

The pair were inseparable, whether it was traveling to Europe, teaching their grandchildren to ride tricycles or shopping together.

On Saturday, they took one final journey. They had been to a flea market and were heading home. The couple stepped off the sidewalk and began to cross Blanding Boulevard on Jacksonville's westside.

They were killed when hit by a car that police said was being driven by a man with a suspended license and who may have been drinking.

It was the Fishers' 39th wedding anniversary.

Friends and family said news of the deaths, brought by a state trooper or somber phone calls, left them stunned.

"We're all really almost numb," said Wayne Fisher Jr., the couple's son. "We're just so sad."

The accident occurred outside a popular Jacksonville flea market.

Mr. Fisher, 63, and his wife, 61, were heading to their car when they were struck.

Police said the driver, Jay Kafka, 47, had his license suspended July 4 for a driving under the influence arrest and was released from jail a week later to await trial.

Police said Mr. Kafka smelled of alcohol and had at least one empty beer can in his car. A blood-alcohol test had not been completed. Speed may also have contributed, police said.

Mr. Kafka was charged with driving with a suspended license and was being held on $250,000 bond.

Neighbors of the Fishers described them as a wholesome couple who greeted everyone with a smile and a wave. The neighbors were angry about how the couple died. "It's a crying shame that courts let these people back on the street," said Charles Johnson, who lives a few doors down.

"These people were the nicest people you'd want to meet," said Charlie Walch, who worked with Wayne Fisher as a biomedical technician at St. Vincent's Medical Center. "They're going to be missed dearly by a lot of people in this community."