02/18/2002 12:00AM

Williams's 13-year-old son is expected to recover


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Thirteen-year-old Robert Williams, the lone survivor of the automobile crash that killed both of his parents and his brother, is expected to recover from his injuries, according to doctors who are caring for him in the intensive care unit at University Hospital in Louisville.

The crash occurred early Friday morning on Interstate 65 some 35 miles south of Louisville. Longtime backstretch employees Steve and Grace Williams, both of whom had worked since 1996 for trainer Paul McGee, were killed along with their only other child, son Christian, 7. According to Kentucky State Police, the three died instantly in the crash.

The family was en route to Florida for a week of vacation when a tractor-trailer owned by the Kroger food company crossed a median and hit their car head-on. The truck driver, who told police he lost control of the truck, did not suffer serious injuries.

Robert Williams underwent surgery Friday to have his spleen removed. He also suffered a deep head laceration and multiple fractures in both legs. He is expected to be hospitalized for at least the next few weeks. He has extended family in Illinois and Maryland, but it has not been determined who will care for him when he is released.

Steve Williams was the top assistant to McGee for nearly six years; Grace Williams worked as a groom for McGee until being stricken with leukemia about two years ago, after which she underwent a successful bone marrow transplant.

Funeral services and burial were scheduled for Tuesday in Marion, Ill. Also, a memorial service was scheduled for Wednesday at 10 a.m. Eastern at St. Stephen Martyr church in Louisville.

The family has requested that any memorial gifts be sent to the Kentucky division of the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association at 3733 S. Fourth Street, Louisville, Ky., 40214.