Family of four dies on Thanksgiving after vehicle veers off road and nosedives into creek
The North Dakota family which was reported missing in southeastern Montana died in a one-vehicle crash on Interstate 94 on Thanksgiving.
A North Dakota family that was traveling to visit their relatives on Thanksgiving morning was found dead in their car on Friday after their vehicle allegedly veered off the road and fell into a creek.
According to the Billings Gazette, at around 8 pm on Friday, authorities found Chelsi and Anthony Dean, both 25, dead along with their daughters Kaytlin, 5, and 20-month-old Avri Dean, in their 2017 Toyota 4Runner in a Montana creek.
They were found almost a day after they were expected to arrive in Ekalaka, Montana, to spend the holiday with relatives, People reports.
Speaking to KTVB, Anthony's mother Leslie Dean Webb said: “It’s the worst. It’s like a nightmare you don’t wake up from.”
The family had been visiting Dean-Webb in Caldwell, Idaho, on Wednesday before starting the journey to Ekalaka, according to a Facebook post by the embattled mother.
Deputies with Montana’s Carter County Sheriff’s Office led the search after the family was reported missing. Dean-Webb urged the public to assist authorities in search of the group at the time.
On Friday, she wrote: “Nobody has heard from them in over 24 hours now. The last communication was from her phone to her Grandma saying they were leaving Billings headed her way and they would see her around 11. They never showed up for Thanksgiving dinner.”
In a conversation with the Gazette, Montana Highway Patrol officials said that the car veered off the road around 7 am while traveling eastbound on Interstate 94 and went into the median. The family had been towing another vehicle on a trailer when the car flew off an embankment and struck a bridge support pillar before landing in Pryor Creek, killing them instantly.
“My Mom and Grandma's heart is broken into a billion pieces. My poor babies. I hope they didn’t suffer,” Dean-Webb wrote on Facebook on Saturday. “Anthony Dean will always be my baby. Chelsi Kay Dean joined our family about 9 years ago when they became high school sweethearts. Kaytlin was a Grandma’s girl from the moment she was born. Avri was a mama’s girl and didn’t know me until a few weeks after she was born, but warmed up to me before long.”
The loss of Anthony and his family was mourned by officials with the Grand Forks Air Force Base. He was a member of the Manvel North Dakota Volunteer Fire Department and the Air Force. Maj. Eric Inkenbrandt, 69th Maintenance Squadron commander, said in a statement shared on Facebook: “Words are not enough during a time like this. AJ’s family brought a light to our maintenance community, and this loss strikes each of us deeply. May their friends and family be granted the strength and serenity to get through this sorrowful time.”