TREMONTON - By Ellen Cook, Headliner Media Specialist, January 1, 2022
Thomas and Clarissa Marie Bradley and their four children never expected to spend New Year’s Eve in a hotel in Tremonton, Utah. They never expected to visit the Bear River Valley Hospital. But then, neither did they plan to hit a patch of ice, roll their Suburban off I-15 or feel indebted to a handful of “angels” who came to their rescue.
But that is just what happened on Wednesday, December 29. Clarissa said the fact they all walked away from what could have been a serious accident is nothing short of “protection from up there.”
The Bradleys are an Air Force family and spent the last 15 years stationed at Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas. Thomas holds the rank of Master Sargent as a crew chief in aircraft maintenance. But recent orders had this family traveling from Arkansas to Alaska for a four-year stent.
Christmas was spent with family in Tucson, Arizona, then the Bradleys stopped in Vernal, Utah, for some dinosaur exploration before continuing their journey
They hit Box Elder County fairly early that Wednesday morning in their Suburban, pulling a U-Haul trailer filled with their belongings. The hope was to make it to Shelby, Montana by night.
“It was overcast but it wasn’t precipitating,” Thomas recalled. “We were on I-15 and took the exit right there at Tremonton. The roads all of a sudden became grooves of ice. They hadn’t been plowed yet. I had slowed down when I saw the ice and came up behind an 18-wheeler and went to change from the right-hand lane to the left-hand lane.”
Thomas said as soon as he hit the ice, he lost control. “I started to go sideways. I’m pretty sure it was mostly due to the trailer we were towing. It took us with it.”
Things went pretty fast after that, according to Thomas, and much of it was a blur. “The backend went out from underneath me toward the left, so I was pointed east, then we started going sideways.”
The Suburban then hit the dirt between the freeway and the offramp. “The vehicle then started to roll, and it rolled about three or four times.”
When it finally came to a stop on its side, this frightened father and mother immediately began making sure all were uninjured. They were. The seatbelts they were all wearing had done their job.
“Everyone was alive, every one of us was okay,” Thomas said, although one daughter and a son had abrasions. Clarissa immediately called 9-1-1.
That is when “angels” arrived, in the form of three kind men.
“They started making sure we were okay,” Thomas noted. “They started pulling the kids out one by one.”
Clarissa added, “It’s a scary thing, and then to have these people you don’t know help. I mean, they pulled us out of the car, they wrapped our kids in blankets, they were reassuring our kids and giving them hugs.”
One of the men said he worked in ski patrol and had some EMT knowledge, so he did a quick assessment on all the family members before the ambulance crew from Tremonton arrived.
Clarissa said, sadly they did not get names for those angels who stopped that morning. “We are actually looking to find them so we can thank them,” she said.
The family was taken to Bear River Valley Hospital for evaluation and again “angels” were there to help.
“I think they were anticipating much worse, as far as injuries,” Clarissa said. “But all the nurses, the doctor, the lady who did the registration, everyone was so kind – I mean the kindest of kind people. They reassured our kids, they offered to let us stay there until we could figure out our next move. They were just amazing people, amazing care.”
While the family suffered just a few abrasions and some bruising, their vehicle was totaled. Getting to Montana, let alone Alaska, was out of the question, at least for a few days.
The family’s next stop was at the Hampton Inn, while arrangements could be made for different accommodations. More Tremonton “angels” hovered nearby.
“The hotel staff took really good care of our family,” Clarissa said. “They checked on us, they asked us how we were feeling, they encouraged our kids.” Other families showed up with offers of rides and plates of food for the displaced family.
New Year’s morning the Bradley family left their hotel and have now taken up temporary residence at Hill Air Force Base in Weber County while they await tickets to finish their move to Alaska – this time by plane.
Though their time in the Bear River Valley was short, they both said it was an “awesome” experience.
“I cannot say enough good things about our experience in Tremonton,” Clarissa concluded. “It was truly a blessing, as odd as that may sound, to be there. We did not have one negative experience or anything like it. We are super prayerful people, and we believe 100 percent that we were very blessed with protection. As far as Tremonton goes, it was an absolute pleasure to be in that city with everyone so kind.”
A GoFundMe account has been set up for the Bradleys to help them replace all they lost in the accident as they continue their move and can be found on the link below.
Find BRVNEWS.com's previously posted article on this crash on the link below.