Soldier's Children Killed In Crash
POSTED: 8:49 pm CDT October 21, 2007
UPDATED: 9:00 pm
CDT October 21, 2007
SAN ANTONIO -- Two children of a Fort Bliss soldier flown back from Iraq with combat injuries are dead and a third is on life support following a car accident on the way to visit their father in the hospital, Army officials said.
Army Spc. John Austin Johnson was waiting for his wife and three kids to visit him at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio last week when another soldier told him his family's car had rolled over four times in the gusty West Texas plains.
"He said, 'Two of my children are dead?"' Army Sgt. 1st Class Eugene Schmidt told The Dallas Morning News. "And we started crying."
Schmidt said Johnson's wife, Lisa, overcorrected the steering in her sport utility vehicle after encountering a blast of wind on the drive from El Paso.
The couple's youngest children, 2-year-old Logan and 5-year-old Ashley, died at the scene.
Tyler Johnson, 9, suffered massive head injuries and remains on life support at Children's Medical Center in Dallas.
"He's a fighter. Even the doctors are amazed he's still alive," said Schmidt, who says the family is too grief-stricken to speak publicly. "We're praying."
Tyler remained at the hospital Saturday while their parents left for their children's visitation in Benton, Ark., the family's hometown.
An anonymous donor provided five burial plots in the veteran's section of Pinecrest Memorial Park in Alexander, Ark., where Spc. Johnson's grandfather is buried.
Another donor purchased markers for Logan and Ashley, whose funeral is set for Tuesday in
American Airlines provided the family seven roundtrip tickets, and other groups are helping the family take care of expenses.
"It's been a pleasure and an honor to help them," said Rehnda White-Brunner, director of United Services Organizations of Dallas/Fort Worth.
Schmidt said Johnson has survived five brushes with improvised explosive device blasts during two years in Iraq.
The latest left him with a traumatic brain injury, and he speaks with a severe stutter.
"They're really overwhelmed with gratitude from everybody," Schmidt said. "They're very humble people. Everyone's coming together."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All rights
Monday, October 22, 2007
Please, please, please pray for this family... I can't even begin to imagine the devestation they must feel!
Posted by Kat at 8:48 AM