Family ‘overwhelmed’ at outpouring of support from the community
BATTLE GROUND — Seven years ago, it was a pregnant Rosa Wilson who felt an outpouring of community support when her husband, Brian, suffered a severe brain injury after falling over 15 feet from a tree on his uncle’s property.
Today, it is Brian, a nurse at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center, leaning on the support of a community that has rallied around his family, after 31-year-old Rosa and the couple’s 5-year-old daughter Juniper died in a tragic head-on crash on SR-503 last Friday in Brush Prairie.
Carmelle Hanson, a fellow nurse, has been providing updates through a GoFundMe page set up to support the family. That page has already seen nearly $150,000 in donations to help with medical expenses, funeral costs, and support for Brian who will now be raising two children alone.
“There is a huge, jagged, raw, bleeding hole where Rosa and Juniper are supposed to be,” Hanson wrote in a post on the GoFundMe page. “It hurts. It really hurts. There is a lot of disbelief, bewilderment, confusion, and even shaking our fists in anger at God. Why? There isn’t an answer on this side of heaven. So we grieve. But we do not grieve without hope. Rosa and Juniper had the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ in their hearts, and when they left this home, they flew to their eternal home in Heaven. Those of us who knew and loved Rosa and Juniper who also know Jesus as our Lord and Savior, are resting in the comfort that they are safe in the arms of Jesus. Jesus said, ‘I am the way and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ Rosa and Junie believed that. Life is so precious. And as we have been reminded, it is so very fragile and fleeting. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. Believe that. Take comfort in that. Live in the peace of Jesus Christ.”
Hanson says the children who survived the crash have shown encouraging signs of improvement.
Seven-year-old Elliot was moved out of the PICU on Monday night after a brace was removed from his neck. Tuesday, he was able to work with a physical therapist, get out of bed, and ask his aunt Samantha to pick him up some popsicles and cotton candy at the grocery store. A child grief counselor has been helping him to process the thought that his mother died in the crash. Elliott reportedly has no memory of the crash.
Three-year-old Iona suffered more serious injuries and was in a medically induced coma until Tuesday. Hanson says the girl remains heavily sedated, though she did reach for her tubing when the sedation was lowered, raising hopes that she has not suffered serious brain damage. She suffered a concussion, as well as other badly broken bones, and has had pressure on her brain.
“The plan is for her to go for a MRI of her head and neck tomorrow, after which they hope to remove her neck collar,” Hanson wrote. “The plan is still surgery on Thursday, with the facial surgery first by a plastic surgeon and then an orthopedic surgeon will come set her leg and foot.”
In a post on his Facebook page, Brian Wilson said countless people have asked what they could bring him. Instead, he just asked that people share their memories of Rosa and Juniper.
“Please this is what I need,” Wilson wrote. “It’s so hard but so good to hear of the beautiful ways they touched you all.”
Nearly 200 people have responded, sharing memories of overseas trips to Finland and Norway, her love of children, and her joyful embrace of her Christian faith.
A separate fundraiser to help bring family from North Carolina to the area has already surpassed its goal.
Crash investigation continues
Washington State Patrol continues to investigate the collision that killed Wilson, Juniper, and 41-year old Kristie Bayers, also of Battle Ground. Early reports are that Bayers may have been attempting to pass another vehicle in the center median of the highway when she entered the southbound lanes and collided with Wilson’s vehicle.
The collision was so severe, the engine of Bayers’ Volkswagen was completely ejected from the vehicle.
Washington State Department of Transportation says a concrete barrier scheduled to be installed on SR-503 between 154th Avenue and Main Street in Battle Ground likely would have prevented Friday’s collision. It is the third fatal head-on crash along that stretch of SR-503 since 2015.
Plans for the barrier were already in progress before Friday’s crash.