11 years ago today tragedy struck my hometown
By Laurel (L_B)
January 11, 2019 1:51pm CST
It is hard to believe that it has been 11 years already. I remember the day so well because my grand daughter was born that morning. She was my first grand daughter and I was elated. It was the best day ever. That night when I got home from the hospital I turned on the news and I heard the terrible news. What was one of my best days ended up also being the worse for so many families who lost their loved ones that night. A van load of young Basketball players from my old high school were on their way back home after a tournament. It was snowing and the roads were not the best but after much discussion the decision was made to make the trip back home. They would take their time. It turned out to be the wrong decision and one that has haunted many people ever since. In the van were nine members of the basketball team, the coach who was driving the van, his wife who was in the front with him and his daughter who was in the seat behind him. As they got close to home they began to phone their parents, who were waiting to pick them up at the local McDonalds. They would be there in 20 minutes. That was the last time many would ever hear their children's voices. About 500 feet from their exit the driver (the coach) lost control of the van and the swerved into a semi truck coming in the opposite direction. Seven of the young men were killed along with the coach's wife. Two boys, the coaches daughter and the coach survived. The van was tore to pieces. How any of them survived nobody will ever know. Those who did survive had their lives changes forever. The police went to the McDonald's parking lot and told the parents there had been an accident and for them all to go to the hospital. At that time they had no idea how bad things were. As they were waiting at the hospital, they seen the many ambulances arriving. At that time they knew there were injuries but that was it. Then the parents were called into another room where they were told the terrible news. That their children had not survived the crash. I can not even imagine the pain. I knew one of the young men. He was a nephew of my first cousin. The whole city mourned and to this day they still do. There is a monument on the side of the road where the accident happened. My sister works at the high school and knew all the boys and their families. There were many dark days at that school and many had to seek counselling. Condolences came in from all around the world. So many parents know what it is like to send their children off for school events but they never think of something like this happening. It touched so many people. I had the coach for a teacher when I was in high school. He never went back to work after this happened. An inquest was held. The van only had all season tires and not winters. Things have changed now. The schools have buses when traveling and they must all have winter tires when travelling in winter time. Also if the weather is bad they are to stay overnight in a hotel and make the trip back when the roads are safe to travel. Their funerals were all together at the local stadium. I remember listening to it on the radio at work. Almost the entire city was there. There was a movie about this too. It is all so sad and my heart still hurts for all those family who lost their children on this day 11 years ago. They will be forever known and remembered as The Boys In Red.
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That is so heartbreaking. I think losing a child has to be the worst thing a parent could ever go through. Many years ago a similar accident happened in our area. I think a high school band was coming home on a bus or van from competition and had a horrible wreck. Several teens were killed and there's a sign on the side of the road where it happened. It says something about a Band of Angels.
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