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"I looked up and saw a car": Deadly Matlacha crash survivor shares story of love and loss

Butch Gay shares his memories of the crash and the love for Mary Lou Sharpe
Posted at 4:19 PM, Jun 06, 2024

MATLACHA, Fla. — On Thursday, nearly two months after a deadly crash killed one woman and injured several others, Butch Gay is ready to tell his story with Cape Coral Community Correspondent, Colton Chavez.

Gay said he was sitting with his girlfriend Mary Lou Sharpe on the patio of That BBQ Place, when troopers said 24-year-old Cody J. Curtis drove into five people, injuring Gay and killing Sharp.

“I looked up and saw a car and then I ended up over there on the ground somewhere,” said Gay.

In the mind of a 78-year-old man who had just been hit by a car, Gay said only one thing was on his mind.

“All I was saying is where is Mary Lou,” said Gay.

Since the deadly crash, Cody James Curtis has been charged with DUI Manslaughter, among other charges.

“The only thing I actually think about is the loss of Mary Lou,” said Gay.

Gay said the loss was on his mind, even while spending over a month in the hospital being treated for his injuries.

“She was everything to me. We were together 50 years ago and we split and went our separate ways and then she lost her husband and I lost Judy so I looked her up and found her in Ocala," he said. "And I brought her back and we spent 15 years together."

Gay said in those low moments after the accident, he leaned on others to lift him up.

“In the hospital, they put me in a private room to myself, because I had too many visitors,” said Gay.

On Thursday, Gay said he won't let this tragedy make him forget his love for Mary Lou.

“Everybody loved Mary Lou, everybody,” he said.

And said his love for the island is the place he will continue to call home.

“That's where I raised my kids and that’s home,” said Gay.

Previous Coverage of Deadly Matlacha Crash