Updated on 09/16/2011 7:50AM

McGee assistants killed in crash


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Steve and Grace Williams, both of whom worked since 1996 for trainer Paul McGee, were killed early Friday morning in an automobile accident just south of Louisville when the couple and their two sons were headed for a vacation in Florida. Their younger son, Christian, 7, also died, while their oldest son, Robert, 12, was in critical condition Friday at University Hospital in Louisville.

Kentucky state police said the accident occurred just before dawn when a tractor-trailer northbound on Interstate 65 crossed a median and crashed head-on into the victims' southbound vehicle. The truck driver, who apparently had fallen asleep, did not suffer life-threatening injuries.

Steve Williams, 44, was a native of southern Illinois who, before becoming McGee's top assistant, trained on his own and worked for other trainers on the Chicago circuit, including the late Eddie Reynolds. His best horse was Old Ben's Trouble, who won two stakes at Hawthorne in the early 1980s. His father, Curtis Williams, is an owner whose horses are trained in Chicago by Mike Reavis.

Grace Williams, 42, was a groom for McGee until being stricken several years ago with leukemia. A Maryland native, she underwent a bone marrow transplant in 2000 and had hoped to return to work later this year.

The night before they died, the Williamses celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary, having married on Valentine's Day 1987.

Funeral arrangements were incomplete Friday.