Icy roads caused accident
A Culver woman and three of her children die in tragic car-train collisionGeneral Editor
Icy road conditions were the apparent cause of an early morning car and train collision Dec. 5 near Culver, which took the lives of a mother and three children.
Killed at the scene were Sandy Roe and children Jason, 15, Tina, 14, and Devin, 6. Another son, Ethan, 10, was taken to Central Oregon District Hospital in Redmond with a fractured collar bone and ankle, plus a concussion, Jefferson County Sheriff Jack Jones said. Ethan was treated and able to return home on Dec. 6.
From information provided by a witness in the car behind the Roes’, Jones described the incident as follows: “She was headed with the kids to school. The witness didn’t report any excessive speed. She tried to brake and stop and slid into the path of the train.”
The accident occurred at 7:25 a.m., where the Burlington Northern railroad tracks intersect with Feather Lane, north of Culver. The roads were extremely slick that morning from frozen rain.
Adding to the tragedy was the fact that the first rescue person to respond was Steve Roe, a volunteer captain with the Culver Fire Department, husband and father of the accident victims.
“He was the first responder on the scene, and it was a very difficult scene,” Sheriff Jones said.
Culver School District Supt. Mike Funderburg said many students and staff were traumatized to learn of the deaths of three classmates and their mother, who worked as an eductational assistant for Culver’s Special Education program.
Funderburg said the Tri-County Crisis Response Team was called out to the school as well as local pastors. Safe rooms were set up for students needing counseling.
A room was also provided where teachers could take a break to deal with grief as needed.
Commenting on the reaction of students, Funderburg said, “Everybody handles tragedy differently. For first-graders who were classmates of Devin, death is a foreign concept. But a lot of parents came and took their first-graders home. The older students wanted to talk about it a little bit.”
A Roe Family Memorial Fund has been set up at Columbia River Bank, P.O. Box O, Madras OR, 97741, for donations to help the family with expenses. Call (541)-7221.