BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. – A young couple and their three-week-old baby are recovering after surviving a horrific crash in Bedford County over the weekend.
Virginia State Police believe a drunk driver is to blame. Brandon Bateman, 35, was charged with driving under the influence after the accident.
The family is speaking out to share their warning and thank the community members who stepped in to help save their lives.
“Those pictures, they’re just horrible,” Nathan Everson said.
Pictures and a tragic accident left Everson at a loss for words. His son, his wife and their newborn baby were hit head-on by a drunk driver late Sunday night.
“When you hear Med Flight, you know that’s the worst,” Everson said. “It was a very difficult pill to swallow.”
The Farmville family of three was leaving a birthday party in Bedford on Route I-22 when it happened. Neighbor Karen Crossely watched the events unfold from her yard.
“We watched the truck pull right out in front of the car. We looked at each other, we look back at it and we see flames,” she said. “Both of us grabbed a fire extinguisher, got in my vehicle and ran up there.”
Crossely was just one of many who rushed to help. Together, the community put out the fire, got baby Avonlea to safety and stayed with Nathan Jr. and Megan who were still trapped in their jeep.
“Everyone helped,” Crossely said. “People were stopping traffic, people were doing everything that they could possibly do.”
When crews got to the scene, they had to use the jaws of life to pull the couple out. They were then flown to a nearby hospital for their injuries.
“I can’t speak highly enough about the people that were on the scene before the first responders got there,” Everson said. “Sometimes it takes the community. They’re the ones who are there first a lot of times.”
As a social worker and volunteer firefighter, Nathan Jr. gives so much to the community. His dad says it made him emotional to see others do the same when it was needed most.
“This is just a selfish act that could have destroyed families because this man decided to drink and drive,” he added. “There’s just no excuse for that.”
All three are expected to be okay, including baby Avonlea. Megan had major surgery to fix several broken bones, including a shattered femur.
“God was watching over them,” Everson said. “That’s all I can say. People don’t survive accidents like that.”
Family and friends hope this serves as a stark reminder to never get behind the wheel drunk, adding it could have been so much worse.
There is a GoFundMe page set up for the family if you’d like to help.