BLACKFOOT — A family’s grieving was compounded April 23 with the death of 6-year-old Dallas Mickelsen, whose death followed that of his 3-year-old brother, Jacody Childers, in a two-vehicle accident on Rich Lane east of Blackfoot April 6.
During the month since then, the Blackfoot community has been pulling together to assist the family with expenses.
Joseph Crippen, 21, of Blackfoot, was driving southbound on Merkley Lane the day of the crash in a 2015 Dodge Caravan with four passengers. Jared King, 39, of Wales, Utah, was driving westbound on Rich Lane in a 2012 Kenworth semi-truck hauling an empty cattle trailer. Police said Crippen failed to yield at the intersection and was struck by King. Following the initial impact, Crippen’s vehicle collided with a nearby power pole and came to rest in an irrigation canal on the south side of Rich Lane. King’s semi-truck and trailer jackknifed and came to rest blocking Rich Lane.
Five occupants of Crippen’s vehicle were extricated. Crippen was transported by air-ambulance to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center where he succumbed to his injuries. Crippen’s passengers, Harley Childers, 26, of Blackfoot, and the two brothers were transported by ground ambulance to Bingham Memorial Hospital.
Dallas was transported by air-ambulance from Bingham Memorial Hospital to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, then to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City. Madison (Maddy) Degiulio, 18, was transported by ground ambulance to Portneuf Medical Center.
Jacody died at the scene.
According to the boys’ grandmother and Harley’s mother, Carma Jensen of Blackfoot, a GoFundMe account has been set up by Kathleen Elliott, “Help For Harley,” to help with funeral costs and medical expenses for her daughter and for Dallas’ medical care while he was in Utah.
An account has been set up at Key Bank by Jensen, Dusty Walters, and Kodylee Jensen. Anyone wanting to contribute at the bank can use one of their names and the four-digit number 1203.
Cash jars are in the process of being set up. Almost $500 has been raised already from a cash jar at the Short Stop convenience store in Blackfoot alone. Jensen said a friend is trying to set up a dart throwing fundraiser, and there are plans for a fundraising dinner in Pocatello.
Dallas was in Primary Children’s Hospital in the pediatric ICU before he passed away from brain injuries, Jensen said.
Degiulio is on a trach tube in Pocatello.
“She’ll wave back when you wave hello to her,” Jensen said of Degiulio. “Her bones are shattered from the hip down, she’s got a long recovery.”
Harley Childers has been seeing a doctor in Idaho Falls since the accident. She has a broken wrist with a plate put in to fix that.
“She’s doing okay, she suffered three broken ribs and and a punctured lung out of the accident,” Jensen said.
A month after the accident, the family has had to deal with more than its share of tragedy in that time, even beyond the aftermath of the crash, seeing five deaths in a month’s time.
“A few of us have gone into (grief) counseling,” Jensen said. “I don’t think a lot of this has set in yet, it’s been one thing after another. The adrenaline has been going and going and going. It’s starting to hit a lot of us, there’s been a lot of tension. We haven’t been able to grieve the way we need to.”
Jensen said the losses haven’t hit Harley yet.
“We’d like to thank the public for all their help, prayers,” Jensen added. “We want to thank Blackfoot for its support. With things like this, conflicts get pushed aside. They say it takes a tragedy to bring friends and family back together. We’ve pushed (conflicts) aside for Harley and the boys and Maddy.
“I’m very proud to be saying I live in Blackfoot.”