Erin Sanderson and her five children set off from their home in North Texas the Sunday after Thanksgiving, embarking on a road trip to their new home in Carthage, Missouri -- it was supposed to be a new start for the family. Sanderson's two teenagers and her 7-year-old were in the car with her boyfriend, Willis George, as she and her two other children followed behind them in a rented moving truck. As they made their way across Highway 60 in Oklahoma, serious tragedy struck.
Sanderson watched as the car carrying four of the people she loves most in the world veered off into oncoming traffic and collided, head first, with a pick-up truck.
CBS 11 spoke with Sanderson, who said:
I thought, "Oh my God please don’t let him hit that car." I knew right then when they collided there’s no way anybody could have survived that crash.
Her boyfriend, 39, died on impact, along with her 14-year-old son Drake Cobb and her 13-year-old Syrenna Sanderson. The 19-year-old driving the pick-up was also killed instantly.
Sanderson's 7-year-old, Maryssa, survived the accident. She's in critical condition at a Missouri hospital with two broken legs.
I cannot begin to imagine how this mom of five must have felt watching that car collide with that truck. I'm sure it all moved in epically slow-motion as she witnessed her three children and her boyfriend careen into extreme danger. She was totally powerless to help and had, what I think, the unbearable misfortune to have seen it all go down.
While it's useless to try and compare ways in which losing a child is better or worse than another way, I will say that this sounds like one of the most painful situations in which to have it happen. Seeing their deaths unfold as you sit there helplessly sounds absolutely horrific.
Sanderson says she's still in shock, but is going to try and stay strong for her daughter Maryssa.
If you'd like to help, the family is raising funds to pay for Drake and Syrenna's funeral. It's a Chase Bank account called the “Drake & Syrenna Fund”, account number 3019735090.
Can you imagine?
Photo via cbslocal.com