It was just supposed to be a nice drive back with his girls and his fiance. Instead, it ended with him in the hospital, and as he woke up from sedation, he received even worse news.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on August 10, 2020. It has since been updated.
Idaho dad Somchai Lurak, 26, was just driving back home from a visit to his sister with his three daughters and their stepmother, Emma Weigand, 25, before stopping at a red light. Unbeknownst to him, in the next few seconds, tragedy was going to strike and change his life irrevocably.
While he had stopped at the light, a drunk driver who was speeding at more than 79 miles per hour (128km/h) hit their car with excessive force. In the aftermath of the accident, he and his fiance, Emma were rushed to the hospital. While Emma was able to escape grave injuries with just broken ribs and a broken arm, Somchai was left paralyzed. However, this wasn't the worst part of the accident and what the father-of-three woke up to was far more heart-breaking.
As Somchai lay in bed, he was hit with news that devastated him, according to The Sun. When he woke up from sedation, the restaurant manager's brother, Anthony Smock, 34 and his sister, Amanda, had to break the news to him that the crash that paralyzed him, claimed the lives of his three daughters, Aneena, 6, Kya, 5, and Drayka, 3, who had been strapped in the backseat.
The girls' uncle Anthony is distraught over the loss. "Just when I think I might be getting over the worst, tears just start pouring out of my eyes. I start thinking about my nieces' beautiful smiles and sweet little giggles, and how every time I would sweep them up into my arms and give them hugs and kisses. I want them back and I want my brother to be able to have his babies. It's a miracle we still have Somchai and his recovery has been improving," he said, according to the Mirror UK. "We had to wait till he was less sedated to tell him that his beautiful daughters were dead. They were the sweetest girls."
"My brother is awake he has been told everything. He is devastated but is trying to keep his spirits up," he wrote in a Facebook message with a photo of Somchai in his hospital bed with a brace around his neck.
Talking about his brother's recovery, Anthony mentioned to the Daily Mail, "Due to the accident, he is missing seven vertebrae in his neck and because of the place it is in his neck, doctors are amazed that he has any feeling in his legs whatsoever. But his road to recovery will be long and due to the amount of medical care he needs, it will be expensive. We've been overwhelmed with the support and have already been overwhelmed as family, friends and even strangers have donated more than $50,000 to help with Somchai's medical care."
"My brother has said he's doing the best he can but he's devastated. As of right now, he's classed as an incomplete quadriplegic - he's got feeling but no movement. We don't know whether he'll ever walk again," he continued.
Starting a Go Fund Me account to help get his brother the help he needs, he wrote, "He is as of right now, classified as an Incomplete Quadriplegic, the accident affected his hands, his neck, back core muscles and everything from the waist down. He has full feeling just no movement in those areas." Additionally, Anthony and Amanda are trying to raise awareness about drinking and driving, the cause of this tragedy in the first place.
"Our family have three pieces of our hearts missing forever now,” Anthony said, reported 7News. "Never ever drink and drive - it's selfish and stupid and can destroy people’s lives and families forever," he added. "Just because you may get home safely once or a hundred times doesn’t mean you're a better driver when you're drunk than anyone else. Don’t confuse being fortunate or lucky with being uncompromised while driving drunk. Sooner or later it may cost you or someone else their life. One act of careless indifference for others can impact a stranger's life and yours forever. And you're the one who will have to live with it sober."
The drunk driver who caused the accident has since pleaded guilty and will be sentenced for three counts of vehicular manslaughter whilst Somchai is undergoing recovery.