This is Richard, last name unknown,  being assisted by a young member of the other tour.  I received a message  from Monica Gardella, on my other blog. Monica is a friend of Richard and his wife, Debbie. They are  both  in a hospital in New Mexico.(Coincidentally we had two couples on this tour with the same names.)  Debbie is the one who calmed her husband from the other side of the truck by telling him she wouldn’t  be able to make class because he wanted to take this tour. I’m so glad Monica wrote, and any other details about their well-being  are welcome.

Frank Shearer in the maroon shirt, with his back to the camera, (the lens is not working properly) helped me identify the tie rod assembly and encouraged me to take a picture of it. He once owned a tow truck business in Oklahoma, and did front end alignment work for thirty years.  We also learned from a message and phone call from Frank this morning, that the man who jumped out of the truck and landed on the ground before the tumble,  was discovered by Frank and his friends, Dewayne, Vern and Steve, sitting dazed on the side of the road. They stopped to ask him if he was okay and he told them, the truck went over the cliff.   So, we learned, that Frank and his friends, older guys, as Frank put it, were our first guardian angels who came down the hill and dug with their bare hands, sticks and anything they could find to dig people out of the wreck.  We learn as we go,  as each person helps us complete the picture from their perspective.

The nameless man who jumped from the truck in the yellow and blue jacket at the beginning of our trip in happier times.  Sans hat and jacket, when I saw him after the accident,  he had an abrasion on his forehead and told me he hurt his shoulder and back. He landed on the ground above before the truck made its tumble.  Richard and Deby Crowe behind him. And Anita and Margaret behind them. If I’m wrong about any identifications, please correct me.

Here Margaret and Anita sit side by side next to the truck.  Margaret had broken ribs both back and front.  Anita, who was in pain herself, the day after the accident, drove the 200 miles to Flagstaff to pick up her friend and return to California.

Bill Repshur with his sweatshirt over his head,  while the paramedics are getting ready to move his wife,  Sofie,  into the copter. Sofie’s son reported that she suffered a broken pelvis among other injuries and will be in the hospital for a couple more days. Also in this picture, in the white sweatshirt, is Jean and her husband Chris who worked continuously during  the rescue;  Jean with perpetual tears in her eyes.  They were the only people to refuse medical treatment and seemed to be totally uninjured. They are from Wisconsin and we have not heard from them.

I believe this is Sophie Zagar, Bill’s wife, when she was first dug out from under the truck.

This is Jean and Chris right after we boarded, holding up their tickets, in happier times.  Debbie, and Bill and Sophie in the background.

I forgot to thank the rangers, the paramedics and the  rescue personnel  for their diligent work in getting us all out. At one point we were out of water and someone thought to go get the big water container from the other tour truck and we again had plenty of water, which I continued to dole out to anyone who looked empty. And, when the helicopter arrived, they plunked down a whole case of water bottles.

I had meant to blog today about the wonderful family that drove me out of the canyon, but it will have to wait until tomorrow. We are both moving pretty slowly and trying to keep up with messages.  Jim had warned me before we set out for Canyon de Chelly. Stock up, we are going to be a long way from a supermarket. Well, I’m glad we had plenty of food on hand, so I’m not doing much in the way of cooking. We are hanging in here, just grabbing what is handy. Also, the people from the Thunderbird Lodge have bent over backwards to see that we are comfortable and treated well. They offered us a room, shower, anything or help that we needed.  Mary Jones, the owner, has been wonderful and we can’t thank her enough.

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  1. What a sad day. I have tears in my eyes reading both of your posts. Sending prayers to all involved.

  2. 2gadabout

    Thank you. It has been a pretty overwhelming experience.

  3. The man that died was my father, Dr. Richard Crowe. Fortunately, my mother is ok. We are all devastated by this loss and I wanted to contribute this article about my dad that was in the Hilo paper this morning:

    • 2gadabout

      Joshua and Jasmine,
      I know your loss having lost a husband of 40 years. His contributions are many; he will live on in your memories. Thank you for sending information for all to share.

  4. Joshua Anderson

    Aloha, I’d like to tell you a bit about my father in law Richard Crowe, the lone fatality on the tour. Dr. Richard Crowe was the father of two daughters, Ginger and Jasmine, a Professor of Astronomy at the University of Hawaii where he also taught physics, thermodynamics, senior level quantum mechanics, electromagnetism, and astrophysics. He was an active member of Rotery international, involved in community outreach, was the Astronomer in residence at the Imi’loa Center in Hilo, a 25 year member of county band as well as a gifted pianist and member of Hawaii’s only professional orchestra. He was known internationally for his work in astrophysics, and just an all around great guy. He has left a huge empty space in our community.

  5. carolyn ibele

    My beloved brother, Richard, I am so sorry I wasn’t there with you. How I wish I could have prayed with you and comforted you at the time. And for all the others that suffered. I miss you so much. But I guess the Lord needed your musical and teaching abilities more up there than here right now. I guess Mom greeted you when you entered the gates…what a wonderful reunion! I look forward to seeing you again! You were my best friend and the best brother anyone could have. You will always be with me, my beloved dear Richard. As long as I am on this earth, there will always be a void in my heart but I have hope that it will be filled when I see you again. Love you sister Carolyn

  6. Prayers and get well wishes to all (and their families) involve in the accident.

  7. Richard’s students are mourning him via Facebook posts. All are very sad and will miss him deeply. This from student David Trang via FB:

    Honolulu Lantern Festival, 2012. This one’s for you Dr. Richard Crowe (RC). You are the one that helped start my career in planetary science from setting me up with the 24″ telescope on Mauna Kea to teaching me planetary science. It was you who I thought of the entire time as the lanterns floated to sea. Thank you for being an inspirational teacher and sharing your knowledge and smile.

    Bronson DeKoning Absolutely. He brought his smile and relentless enthusiasm to every class… even quantum mechanics! 😉

  8. Dr. Pascale Creek Pinner

    Richard was also a friend of mine. I taught both of his daughters and over the last four years he and I worked together on the Math/Science Partnership (MSP) grant for Hilo elementary teachers. We honored him at our recent workshop and we’ll miss him terribly. His enthusiasm and passion for science was shared with the 41 elementary teachers that he worked with over the life of this grant. I will miss him terribly, as will we all.
    Aloha Dr. Crowe! Pascale

    • 2gadabout

      It still hurts to think we lost one of our group; and such lost potential for a better world. Amen! Thanks for writing.

      • Frank Shearer

        Not a day has gone by that I don’t tear up as I think about all of these wonderful people that were pinned under the truck. Helping to dig them out was the easy part. I pray for the deceased, the injured, their family’s & loved ones. Frank Shearer

  9. 2gadabout

    Thanks,Frank. I never feared heights, but now when I get too close to a down slope I get a little shiver of fright. I still dream of the accident, sometimes with a different ending, as though I have the power in my dreams to change things for the better. If only….

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