A fun-filled family trip has turned tragically wrong.
USA Today is reporting that the Hardman family of Terrell, Texas, eight in total, were traveling from Texas to DisneyWorld, approximately 1,056 miles of driving, to enjoy a week of fun and frivolity. While traveling through Louisiana, The Terrell’s 2005 Chevrolet Tahoe veered off the highway and overcorrected trying to get back onto the highway, then began to roll over. Six of the people in the car were not wearing seat belts, and were ejected from the car. Five of those ejected perished at the scene.
Those who passed away were Michael and Trudi Hartman, husband and wife, and three of their children, sons Dakota Watson, 15, and Adam Hardman, 7, and daughter Kaci Hardman, 4.
It is believed that the couple’s 16-year-old son was driving the car at the time of the accident. He and the other two children were wearing seat belts at the time of the accident. Police believe the 16-year-old fell asleep at the wheel of the car when the accident occurred approximately 11 p.m. The family left Terrell about 8 p.m. to begin their journey.
Both adults worked for the Willis Point School District, Trudi as a kindergarten teacher, Michael as a second-grade teacher for John F. Kennedy Elementary School.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family members, colleagues, students and friends. We must lift each other up during this difficult time,” Terrell school district Superintendent Michael French said.
The National Post is reporting that the as-yet unidentified driver has been charged with misdemeanor careless operation, State Police spokesman Michael Reichardt said. Though substance abuse was not suspected, tests were done on the driver. The stretch of I-20 in Louisiana where the accident took place was clear and straight, and the road was dry.
Timothy Hardman, Michael Hardman’s brother, stated that those who had worn seatbelts were all injured, one critically. However, it was never identified which of the three was critically injured. The driver and the other not-critically injured child were treated and released from the hospital.
Timothy Hardman also told reporters that Michael and Trudi Hardman were married just over five years ago, Michael bringing three boys into the family, and Trudi the other two sons. Daughter Kaci was their only child together.
“Our heartfelt condolences go out to all of the people affected by this tragic crash,” said Col. Mike Edmonson, the Louisiana State Police superintendent. “In an instance, this family vacation turned into an unspeakable tragedy.”
[Image courtesy of my Fox DFW]