A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help support two children who have been orphaned after both their parents were killed Saturday in a devastating car accident.
Abby and Adam Jackson were among 20 people who lost their lives when the SUV limousine they were traveling in careened through a stop sign and plowed into a parked vehicle in upstate New York Saturday night. They leave behind their children, Archer, 4, and Elle, 16 months.
“Adam and Abby were amazing parents to these girls and taken much too soon,” the GoFundMe page reads. “While families will step in and provide loving care for these girls, there will be expenses that we can help with during this time when we otherwise feel so helpless.”
The campaign was set up by family friend, Sarah Maltzman. Maltzman noted that “Elle and Archer’s grandparents will have sole withdrawal rights” for all the funds raised, and “can use the money for their education or other needs as the children grow up without their parents.”
As of Monday morning, the GoFundMe campaign had raised just under $60,000, with a target of $75,000.
Abby Jackson’s sisters, Amy Steenburg, Mary Dyson and Allison King, all perished in the crash as they were on their way to celebrate Amy’s 30th birthday.
“They did the responsible thing getting a limo so they wouldn’t be driving,” Barbara Douglas, an aunt of the four sisters, told NBC News. “My brother and his wife are just overwrought. I don’t know how to say it. Can’t wrap your head around such a tragedy where you have four of your daughters die.”
Amy Steenburg’s husband, Axel Steenburg, and Axel’s brother, Rich Steenburg, were also killed. An additional GoFundMe page has been set up to try and cover some of the costs associated with their funerals.
“Saturday, Rich, Axel and other friends and family passed in an unfortunate party bus accident. It is beyond devastating for everyone who knew them all. Please help ease the burden during this time and help donate to funeral expenses,” the page’s description reads.
“I join all New Yorkers in mourning these deaths and share in the unspeakable sorrow experienced by their families and loved ones during this extremely difficult time,” said New York governor Andrew Cuomo in a statement following the horrific crash.
Eyewitnesses described the horror of the impact, which occurred just outside Apple Barrel Country Store in Schoharie.
“I heard this loud bang, I saw a lot of people here at the Apple Barrel [store and cafe] out in the parking lot,” said local resident Bridey Finnagen, according to the BBC. “Then I heard screaming.”
Jessica Kirby, the manager at the store, told The New York Times that the accident occurred just outside her storefront and that her customers were struck by the limo. “That limo was coming down that hill probably over 60 miles per hour,” she added.“
“As you may be aware, there was a horrific accident in front of our business today,” the store wrote in a Facebook post. “First, we want to thank all of the emergency services that responded. We are so thankful for all of you. We hope you will come and share your smiles, love, friendship and hugs with us.”
The store is also accepting donations, which will go to “local volunteer emergency services.”
“They are the heroes of our small community,” the store added. “Our hearts and prayers go out to everyone that was affected by the events of today. You will always be part of our family.”
There have been many questions raised over the condition of the stretch SUV limo, with the Washington Post reporting that passenger Erin Vertucci texted her aunt, Valerie Abeling, to say the limo was “in terrible condition.” The party had initially booked some sort of bus to transport them to the venue but were assigned the limousine after the original vehicle broke down.
The particular section of road and intersection where the accident took place is notoriously dangerous, according to a local official.
“There have been tractor trailers that have come barreling down that hill and it was a miracle they didn’t kill somebody,” Schoharie Town Supervisor Alan Tavenner told the Albany Times Union.
It is difficult to fathom just how many families are in tatters as a result of this sudden tragedy. Please take some time today to pray for all of those affected.