For the first time since the crash that took the lives of their parents and sister, siblings Angie and Zachary Clemens saw each other, laying in a hospital bed, wearing neck braces.
A few weeks ago, tragedy struck the Clemens family when an oncoming driver lost control of the wheel and drove straight into their car. Due to the severity of the crash, Jim Clemens, 31, his wife Karisa, 29, and their daughter Juliana, 2 months old, died shortly after.
Angie, eight, and Zachary, five, survived the crash, along with their two younger brothers, Wyatt, four, and Nicholas, two.
The crash took place on April 7, when Monique Deion Austin, 23, lost control of her Chevrolet. Her one-year-old son was also in the car and is expected to recover.
The Clemens siblings have been separated, as their conditions made them immobile until recently. Earlier in the month, relatives positioned Angie and younger brother Wyatt’s wheelchairs facing each other, which allowed the siblings to blow each other kisses.
Zachary has been too sick to move, partially due to his broken back, and has been unable to see his siblings. But for the first time this week, the hospital staff was able to move him from the bed to a wheelchair, which allowed him to see his sister.
Teresa Burrell, a Clemens relative, updated Facebook on Zachary’s status saying:
“Little Zachary broke his back, but could feel his toes and that’s awesome. But when they took him in for surgery his lungs, they really struggled,” she said. “As we try to help these guys come to reality, when they are conscious when they are able to understand that their parents are gone. That their little sister is gone, you know, it’s a challenge.”
They let the two lie down next to each other, and they immediately clasped hands.
The Clemens children are all facing long recoveries and hefty hospital bills. Multiple fundraising accounts have been set up in order to help pay for the kids medical bills, raising, together, $130,000. You can find the fundraisers here and here.
Angie faces a long recovery, as she is facing brain damage due to the accident. Wyatt also faces a lengthy recovery but has now finally begun walking after spending the last couple of weeks in a wheelchair. Miraculously, he even lifted his hands above his head on Monday, surprising everyone.
Teresa Burrell, one of the Clemens relatives, updated Facebook on the children’s recovery.
‘This is Zachary and Angie,’ wrote Teresa Burrell. ‘They are able to touch each other for the first time since the accident.”
“Our prayers are for these little ones who have a long journey of healing ahead,” she added.
She also added a photo of Zachary and Angie this morning asking prayers for Zachary who is facing complications.
“We trust that through faith and prayers the Lord can heal this sweet boy. We are so grateful for the medical staff and know that our Heavenly Father can guide them to the best solutions for our sweet Zachery,” she said.
We have seen so many miracles through the power of prayers. We are asking again that in your prayers you will remember…
The funerals for Jim, Karisa, and Juliana were held on April 21. Out of all the children, only Nicholas was able to leave the hospital to attend.
Jim and Karisa have been married for 11 years. They lead a tight-knit family and were known for being both devoted Christians and parents. They ‘were examples of faith, hope, friendship, and service to all who knew them,’ their obituary stated.
The extended family has stepped up to care and watch after the Clemmens children, but they said the medical care and funeral expenses are daunting. Luckily responders have been generous, as thee two fundraisers have already raised 130,000.
The orphaned siblings face a rough road ahead, but the fact that they were able to see each other is a promising and hopeful sign.