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By Miriam Raftery

Photo via GoFundMe

July 21, 2020 (Campo) – Brad and Crystal Sparks’ family from Campo suffered a devastating rollover accident in New Mexico on July 12 while traveling home after a visit to friends in Texas. Two of their children were killed and five other family members had injuries. Brad works for Symons Fire Protection in Poway.

A GoFundMe Page has thus far raised over $187,000 to help Brad and Crystal Sparks, their surviving children and an unborn baby.

Crystal Sparks, who is seven months pregnant, was fatigued and lost control of the SUV on a dark highway in a remote location, according to the Dept. of Public Safety in New Mexico. According to the GoFundMe site set up by Kimberly Piccolo Correia with Foothills Christian Church, “the Suburban veered from the road and rolled multiple times in a horrific accident,” landing upside down in an area where passing vehicles could not see it.

Suspended upside down, Brad Sparks managed to use voice commands via his Apple watch to call 911. Some of the children freed themselves and made it out to the roadside, but their parents remained trapped for over an hour.

By the time help arrived, including two Life Flight helicopters and six ambulances, it was too late to safe the couple’s daughter, Bailey, 12, and son, Landon, 10. Crystal was flown to a hospital and Brad was rescued using Jaws of Life before being taken with the four surviving children to two different hospitals.

According to Correia, Crystal had a punctured lung, broken ribs, broken shoulder and shattered foot plus “extreme wounds” on her body, but fortunately her unborn baby appears uninjured and has a strong heartbeat. She remains hospitalized amid the COVID-19 pandemic, when visitors are restricted.

The other five family members are now out of the hospital, recovering from injuries. Brad’s injuries included a fractured face and broken knee. Cameron suffered a broken clavicle and severe cuts. 

Brad, an active member of Foothills Christian Church, told CBS, “I have momentary breakdowns” over the loss of his son and daughter, but adds, “I know where they are, so that grounds me and allows me to breathe and keeping going."

Donations are needed to help with medical costs, funeral expenses, grief and family counseling, vehicle replacement, daily living expenses, and necessities for the baby due to be born in October.--all amid the financial stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To donate to help the Sparks famliy, click here.

Miriam Raftery, editor and founder of East County Magazine, has over 35 years of journalism experience. She has won more than 350 journalism awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, San Diego Press Club, and the American Society of Journalists & Authors. Her honors include the Sol Price Award for responsible journalism and three James Julian awards for public interest reporting from SPJ’s San Diego chapter. She has received top honors for investigative journalism, multicultural reporting, coverage of immigrant and refugee issues, politics, breaking news and more. Thousands of her articles have appeared in national and regional publications.

East County Magazine gratefully thanks the Facebook Journalism Project for support through its COVID-19 Local News Relief Fund Grant Program to help make reporting possible on the impacts of COVID-19 on vulnerable local populations. #FacebookJournalismProject.

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