It's horrific enough to consider losing even one child in a car crash, but in Mississippi, one family lost five children this weekend in the blink of an eye. According to the Associated Press, the five siblings appear to have drowned after the SUV in which they were riding veered off of the road Saturday evening and plunged into a creek just about 20 miles outside of Philadelphia.
They were identified as Dasyanna John, 9; Duane John, 8; Bobby John, 7; Quinton John, 4; and Kekaimeas John, 18 months. A 37-year-old identified as a friend of the family, Diane Chickaway, also died. Both parents -- Dewayne John and Deanna Jim -- survived, as did Chickaway's husband, though Dewayne remains hospitalized for hypothermia and water inhalation.
I can't even imagine how they will go on after such a profound loss. How could you?
According to sheriff reports, it wasn't a weather related crash as there was no ice on the road, nor was it raining. The creek, however, was swollen to unusually high levels from recent rains. Deputy County Coroner Marshall Prince told the AP: "It looked like he has just run off the road and went into the water. It was deep and swift. The vehicle was completely submerged."
Dewayne, who was driving, was tested to see if he was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash, but official results aren't in. Hopefully that won't be a factor, as it would make this whole horrific incident even more tragic. No one was reportedly wearing seat belts or secured in any kind of a car seats at the time of the crash, which is unthinkable, but I'm not sure that would have helped in this case.
Regardless of how it happened, you know these parents are going to be reliving it their entire lives. I'm sure they'll be plagued with what ifs and if onlys and so many, many nightmares about the end of these beautiful young children's all-too-short lives.
The family is part of the 10,000-member Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, so it has surely hit that community hard as well. Hopefully, however, that community will also be able to offer support to them at this dire time and help them figure out how to go on. Our thoughts and prayers are with them all.
How do you think people are able to go on after something like this?
Image via ambigel/Flickr