Help my grieving family after absolute tragedy
I don’t know how to start or where to begin, or how to get through typing this. My name is Katie (Simmons) DeRouen. I am the 2nd of 9 children of Ray and Dawn Simmons. My parents are two of the most caring people to have as parents. They have dedicated and sacrificed so much, and then some, for us.
On December 17th, my mom, Dawn, my youngest sisters, Lindy (20) and Kamryn (15), my youngest brother, Christopher (17) and his girlfriend, Marissa (16), traveled to Monroe for Christopher’s basketball game. He plays for Acadiana Christian School and for the first time in their history, they are undefeated On the way home, they were traveling south on interstate 49. A selfish, scum of the earth human, decided to get behind the wheel intoxicated. This person was driving north in the southbound lane on the interstate and plowed head-on into my family’s car.
My dad called me as I was at a Christmas party and told me “Mom got in a wreck. It’s not looking good, but she’s stable”. I flew to the hospital, crying along the way, thinking my mom was hurt but absolutely not thinking anything worse. When we arrived to LGMC, my brother, Shea and Dad were frantic as they just learned from facebook that the accident involved two fatalities. I was in complete denial and knew both fatalities had to be in the other car. There is no way that God would take one of my little babies from us. As we learned the other car involved only had one occupant, my mind still convinced me that someone is getting their information twisted and it could not be true. Mom arrived very confused with a bleeding spleen, a punctured lung and two broken ankles. We learned today she also has a lacerated carotid artery that they’re worried about bleeding causing a stroke and broken wrists. Marissa had a broken femur and some abdominal bruising. But they were stable and that gave us some relief to be able to deal with locating my siblings. The state trooper called my dad back to say that the “young blonde that was driving” did not survive as well as the driver of the other car, and that he thinks some of the kids may be at Opelousas General. We all lost it, but I still did not accept this as fact. None of my siblings were at LGMC, where my mom was, and we called every hospital we could think of to locate them. What we didn’t realize was, the hospitals that had taken them in did not know who they were, therefore their names were not showing up. My mother-in-law, husband and I flew to Opelousas and I decided to call again, just incase. The operator informed me that they didn’t have anyone by their names, but they did have “someone from a car accident if I wanted to come and identify them.” I asked what she meant by identify, because certainly she didn’t mean identify a body. I expected to walk in to one of my siblings in the hospital bed, bruised and banged up, but alive. When the nurse met us, he asked me to describe my sister and informed me that the young female there had expired. We eventually were lead to the room where they unzipped my sweet baby sister’s body bag and revealed to me her perfect face. Yes, that’s Kamryn. I immediately called my dad to let him know it wasn’t Lindy, as we had thought. It was the baby, it was our baby, Kamryn. We asked the nurse to please help us locate my other two siblings, since now they are the ones in critical condition that we need to get to as soon as possible. He left and returned in a few minutes to let me know that there was a young gentleman at Bunkie General. I let out a sign of relief as I stated okay, that’s my baby brother, at least he’s ok. Well, I know he’s not ok, but at least he’s alive. Where is my sister? The world stopped turning when he shook his head no. No? My baby brother isn’t alive? There are no words to explain that moment. He then proceeded to tell me the young blonde who was driving was still at the scene because they were unable to extract her from the vehicle. And just like that, we went from one sibling didn’t make it, to all three of them not making it. He informed me that I needed to head to Bunkie General to identify my baby brother so that he could be given a name and able to follow all other procedures after tragedies like this. I drove, what seemed like 97 million hours to Bunkie. I did not feel like I was in control of my body as I walked into the third hospital of the night. When the nurse unlocked the door and I saw his hair, I knew it was him. My sweet, innocent, perfect baby brother who had his entire life ahead of him, was laying there, lifeless. He still had the breathing tube in his mouth. I could see his little teeth resting on it. His nose was purple. I couldn’t stay to see him much longer, but it was him. I have never, in my life, experienced more pain than in that moment. Everyone at the hospital was so kind, but nothing took away the pain that was bruing in my heart. The three babies of the family are gone. My dad lost his three youngest children and is with my mom in ICU. My mom is in ICU without a clue as to what happened. The absolute hardest part of this entire experience, next to losing my siblings, is knowing that my mom will be informed of this whenever she awakens. It is absolutely gut wrenching for me to share this and I am passionately sharing in hopes of raising awareness of how devastating getting behind the wheel intoxicated can be. Our lives our shattered. My parents lived for us. Everything they did in life was for the benefit of their children. We went from our “big family of 9 kids” to 6 kids in the blink of an eye. I don’t know how we will ever move on or recover from this.
So as I create this GoFundMe, please know that I am not asking or begging for money. I am simply a hopeless daughter who’s trying to think of anyway that I could make this even .000000001% better for my mom and dad in the very dark days to come. From the very limited information we have received, the driver of the other vehicle appeared to be living out of his vehicle, possibly homeless. I wouldn’t imagine he had great insurance coverage, although my mom did carry insurance.
My mom has been a mail carrier and my dad has worked at Cleco for many, many years. A few weeks ago, my dad retired. This means, he no longer receives a lot of benefits that he did as an active employee. With this being said, I don’t know what the financial burden that lies ahead will be. I don’t know any financial/insurance information at this moment, but I do know that my parents will be out of work for a very long time. I don’t know that they’ll ever be able to mentally handle going back to work. I know that my mom and dad would not want me to do this. They have always been extremely independent, but if I can create this and relief ANY tiny bit of financial burden, I will swallow my pride and do so.
If you can please, please, send up all of the prayers you can. My parents, my other siblings, my aunt, all of my siblings' friends……..
I am extremely scared of the moment my mom will find out the news. I am heart broken listening to how heart broken my daddy is. I am so worried about losing them too.
We are crushed. We are empty. We are devastated. We are in disbelief. We are hurting. We don’t know how we will ever find joy in anything again.
PLEASE DON’T DRIVE DRUNK. YOU CAN’T IMAGINE THE IMPACT YOU MAKE ON OTHERS LIVES BY THAT FOOLISH DECISION.
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Katie Joy DeRouen
New Iberia, LA