Lifestyle

 By Amanda Thomason  December 29, 2021 at 1:48pm

On Dec. 17, the Simmons family of Louisiana suffered a devastating blow. In one fell swoop, the lives of three of the Simmons children were taken, and two more lives were left hanging in the balance.

Mom Dawn Simmons, 20-year-old Lindy Simmons, 17-year-old Christopher Simmons, his girlfriend Marissa and 15-year-old Kamryn Simmons were in a car driving along Interstate 49 when a pickup truck came barreling into their lane from the opposite direction and struck them head-on.

The driver of that truck, 54-year-old John Lundy, was pronounced dead on the scene. Lindy, Christopher and Kamryn all died, too.

Dawn and Marissa were taken to the hospital stable but in rough shape.

Katie DeRouen, the second of the Simmons’ nine children, has been keeping people updated on the heartbreaking situation.

“The three babies of the family are gone,” she wrote on a GoFundMe set up for the family. “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.”

DeRouen said she was initially told that Lundy had been intoxicated, but toxicology reports have not confirmed that.

“He might have just been lost and confused,” Trooper Thomas Gossen told TODAY. “It hasn’t been determined that he was impaired.”

“There have been a few news reports that mention my personal unconfirmed ‘claims’ that the other driver was impaired,” DeRouen clarified in a Facebook post from Monday. “I originally believed the driver was impaired based on information given directly to me at one of the hospitals.”

“Based on eyewitness reports, the driver was driving erratically, weaving in and out of traffic in the northbound lane until he crossed the median and continued in the wrong direction at approximately 90 mph for at least 2-3 miles before hitting my family at 9:01pm. Additionally, many witnesses have confirmed that the driver was only wearing a pair of boxers which is very odd.”

Since the accident, Marissa has had surgery on her leg and is healing but heartbroken, while Dawn has a long road to recovery ahead of her.

“My mom returned from the hospital on Sunday,” DeRouen wrote in an update. “It’s hard to believe that barely a week ago, she was in the ICU clinging to life. Here we are a week later, and she is alive and doing well. Her strength has inspired all of us. The surgeon told her that her ankles/legs are ‘severely broken,’ and they had to use some sort of new technology to accomplish the surgeries.”

There’s a lot of grief to sort through in a variety of surprising and heartbreaking ways. The house is a little quieter. There were presents under the tree addressed to the three. The siblings’ cars are still sitting in the driveway.

Older brother Shea publicly spoke about the loss and the effect it has had on all of them.

“We’re all brand new to this and, and just trying our best to figure out, you know, the best way to go about it,” he said, according to KTVE.

“You just never know when someone’s last time is, you know, so you know just try and remember that life is, is precious. We — we really never know when it’s our time and just to not take things for granted.”

Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she’s strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.

As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn’t really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.

She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she’s had teal hair.

With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children’s books with her husband, Edward.

Location

Austin, Texas

Languages Spoken

English und ein bißchen Deutsch

Topics of Expertise

Faith, Animals, Cooking

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