Two 4-year-old girls are being heralded across the nation as heroes for climbing a steep, wooded embankment in the dark after a car crash on South Whidbey in an effort to get help for their father.
Tragically, 47-year-old Corey Simmons of Langley was killed in the Dec. 6 accident.
Trooper Heather Axtman, a spokesperson for the Washington State Patrol, said she’s been contacted by CNN, the New York Times, People Magazine, Dateline and other national media organizations about the story.
“It just hits the heart a little hard,” Axtman said, explaining that this is one of those accidents that will stay with her forever.
Axtman explained that Simmons was driving west on Bob Galbreath Road just before 6 p.m. when the car left the roadway to the right.
The car went down an embankment and hit several trees before coming to a rest.
The twin girls were in booster seats and sustained minor injuries. They recognized that their father needed help, Axtman said.
The preschoolers unbuckled themselves and managed to climb up the embankment in the dark. The car had traveled about 100 feet down the embankment, about 20 feet of which was “very steep terrain,” she said.
Axtman said she was astonished that the girls were able to overcome their fear of the dark and the woods; as a mother, she’s learned that those are two things kids tend to be afraid of.
Miraculously, the twins got to the road just as a Good Samaritan was driving by and happened to look their way. Their focus was on getting help for their dad.
“I just find that so heroic and so brave,” Axtman said.
Deputies with the Island County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene and discovered the car down the embankment.
Simmons was not wearing a seat belt and was pronounced dead at the scene, the State Patrol reported.
Axtman said it’s unclear what caused the accident, but it’s under investigation by the State Patrol.
“There’s a lot we don’t know,” she said.
The girls were transported to WhidbeyHealth Medical Center, where they were reunited with their mother.
A GoFundMe campaign for the Corey Simmons funeral and family fund was created to help cover Simmons’ funeral expenses as well as other expenses the family may incur.