Highway 26 Crash Victim's Family Speaks
Grieving Grandparents Speak of Tough Little Survivor
"I mean, it's the worst you can go through -- losing a child," Verleen Kalama said Friday, talking about losing her daughter-in-law and granddaughter in a tragic, violent crash on Wednesday night.
A car seen leaving the scene of a Madras burglary sped away after a deputy pulled it over on Highway 26 near Warm Springs Wednesday night. Moments later, the car crashed into an oncoming Warm Springs police car, killing three adults and a child and seriously injuring the officer and another child, authorities said.
Late Thursday afternoon, Jefferson County Sheriff Jim Adkins identified the dead as April Scott-Kalama, 26, Valerie Suppah, 25, Sean Starr, 22, and Grace Sybil Scott, 4, all of Warm Springs.
Kalama said Grace was just months away from something she'd been very excited about.
"She said, 'I can't wait until my birthday, Grandma.'"
While Grace's life was cut short, miraculously, her younger brother, Ladamire Lydell Kalama, 1 1/2, survived the crash. He's recovering at Doernbercher Children's Hospital in Portland.
"He's been responding. He's been opening his eyes," Kalama said of her grandson. "But they have him sedated, because he keeps trying to pull his tubes out. He actually tried to sit up -- and when we heard that, our prayers were answered."
Little Ladamire is doing surprisingly well, considering the trauma his body has been put through.
"He has a broken leg and a chipped ankle," Roland Kalama said. "And he has bleeding in his brain, but they got that under control."
Those are just a few of the injuries Ladamire sustained in the crash, along with bruises and cuts cover his body, and a broken jaw.
But even though the tubes and bandages alter Ladamire's appearance for now, his grandparents said he will live, and for that, they praise his nurses.
"They are so helpful -- they're our angels," the Kalamas said. "I mean, we love them for that, for taking good care of our grandson while we can't be there."
Ladamire's sister, Grace, and his mother, April, will be buried on Saturday.
But the Kalamas are also a grieving over the loss of the two other people who were killed in the crash.
Starr was a good friend of the Kalamas, and Suppah was like family.
"Our condolences go out to her family as well," Roland Kalama said.
We learned Friday that the injured officer, Todd Kerr, is out of the hospital, having suffered several broken bones.
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