A California family's trip home from Texas turned into a "horrific" nightmare after they were involved in a fatal car crash that left two of their young children dead.
The incident unfolded on July 12 as a mother and father were traveling home to San Diego in their Chevy Suburban with their six children, according to a press release from the New Mexico State Police (NMSP).
A GoFundMe page set up for the family identified the parents as Brad and Crystal Sparks and noted they were driving home following a two-week stay with friends in San Antonio.
"As they drove down the pitch-dark highway in the middle of what seemed to be nowhere, a tragedy occurred, and they lost control of their vehicle," the page reads. "The Suburban veered from the road and rolled multiple times in a horrific accident that landed it upside down in an area that passing cars could not see them."
With the family's car "almost entirely crushed," Brad, 42, Crystal, 37, and their children — Cameryn, 13, Bailey, 12, Landon, 10, Sadie, 7, Jackson, 5, and Wilson, 3 — were unable to escape and became trapped inside, the GoFundMe stated.
Brad was able to use voice command and access his Apple Watch to call 911 for help, but he and his wife, who is seven months pregnant, remained stuck inside the car for over an hour, according to the page.
In the meantime, several of their kids managed to release themselves from their seatbelts, crawl out of the vehicle and walk towards the side of the road in an attempt to find help, the campaign states.
Police confirmed that they responded to the incident around 12:30 a.m. and found the family's Chevy Suburban rolled over on Interstate 10 westbound at about milepost 72 near Deming.
An initial investigation indicated that Crystal was driving the vehicle while experiencing "driver fatigue," causing the vehicle to leave the roadway and rollover, NMSP said. Alcohol was not involved and seatbelts were properly used, police added. No criminal charges have been filed.
Though authorities came to help, it was too late for the couple's 12-year-old daughter — who was identified as Bailey in the GoFundMe — as she suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to NMSP.
Bailey's 10-year-old brother — identified as Landon in the GoFundMe — also died from his injuries, but was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Authorities confirmed in the press release that they transported the family to the hospital, where Crystal, Brad, and their 13-year-old were treated for "non-life-threatening injuries."
"Brad was left with a fractured face and a broken knee," the GoFundMe page reads. "Cameryn suffered a broken clavicle and severe cuts all over her body. Crystal has suffered a punctured lung, broken ribs, a broken shoulder, and a shattered foot in addition to extreme wounds on her body."
Police said the other children all went uninjured. Crystal and Brad's unborn child, who is due in October, also did not suffer any injuries and "appears to be healthy and is maintaining a strong heartbeat," according to the GoFundMe.
"It is a miracle that six of the eight family members were able to walk away from this horrific accident," the page reads. "They are now beginning the slow process of recovery. Nonetheless, the excruciating physical pain and the unbearable, overwhelming grief is more than just about anyone could bare."
In the wake of the incident, the fundraiser was created to assist the Sparks with "funeral costs, medical bills, grief and family counseling, vehicle replacement, daily expenses, and necessities needed to bring their new child into this world next October."
As of Wednesday, the page has raised over $214,000. It has also served as a place for loved ones to get updates on the conditions of the family.
On July 18, the page's organizer shared that Brad, Cameryn, Sadie, Jackson and Wilson were all released from the hospital and recovering from their injuries.
"Crystal is still in the hospital dealing with the pain of her injuries but improving every day. The baby appears to be fine," the update read. "We ask for your continued prayers for this family during this difficult time of grief and recovery."
As the Sparks cope with the unimaginable loss, Brad said he is finding comfort in remembering his son and daughter, whom he believes are now in a better place.
"[Landon] talked about everything to anybody who would listen and he was a great communicator. Just loved to tell stories and rehash things," he told CBS affiliate KFMB-TV. "[Bailey] just loved all things creative. She was our big girl, she was the responsible one in the family."
"I honestly don't know how I'm here. I was flattened out pretty good," he added. "We're obviously dealing with the loss of our two kids… so, I have momentary breakdowns, just like anyone else, but spiritually I know where they are so that grounds me and allows me to breathe and keep going."
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