|Front row: Adam Hardman, Michael, Trudi and Kaci Hardman. |
Back row: Aaron Hardman, Dakota Watson, Andrew Harman, Hunter Watson
"We must lift each other up during this difficult time," stated Terrell Independent School District Superintendent Michael French.
The Hardman family had always talked about taking their blended family to Disney World and on Nov 19 2014, they and their six children left their Terrell TX home sometime after 7 pm headed to Florida. At approximately 10:45 pm their 2005 Chevy Tahoe crashed on Interstate 20 just west of Calhoun LA and five members of the family were dead.
The police report that they believe the driver, sixteen year old Andrew Hardman apparently fell asleep at the wheel and the Tahoe veered to the left. He then overcorrected the vehicle to the right and the SUV rolled over, ejecting six people who were not wearing seatbelts. Five of the Hardman family were pronounced dead at the scene. The dead were identified as Michael and Trudi Hardman, Dakota Watson, 15, Adam Hardman, 7 and Kaci Hardman, 4. Andrew was wearing a seatbelt and only suffered minor injuries while Aaron Hardman, 12 is in critical condition. Hunter Watson also suffered only minor injuries and was released from the hospital the next day.
Michael and Trudi married five years ago and brought their children from previous marriages together. Kaci was the youngest and the only child that they had together as a couple. Michael taught second grade in the TISD and had been employed by them for two years. He also coached Little League baseball and is said to never turn a kid away from participating. Trudi was a kindergarten teacher at Willis Point Primary School and had worked for the WPISD for ten years. The couple had been planning the trip for the past nine months and were excited to be able to take all six of their children there.
Andrew has been charged with reckless operation of a vehicle and the police do not believe that he was impaired even though they did take a sample for a toxicology test. They have stated that they believe that he may have just fallen asleep while driving. They did add that they believe that more of the family could have survived the accident if they had been wearing seat belts as required by law in both Texas and Louisiana. I do believe that it probably was just an accident due to to inexperience but the damage it may have caused could last a lifetime.
There has been a go fund me site set up to help with expenses for the surviving children. No funeral arrangements have been announced as of yet.
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Update Nov 22 2014:
The police have stated that Andrew had to be charged with a motor vehicle infraction as a point of law but he has only been charged with the misdemeanor of careless operation. This charge means that he would only be facing a small fine and a mark on his newly acquired driver's license. They added that there is a very good chance that the charge will be dropped in the future since he has certainly suffered more than any punishment could do for what looks to be just an accident.
There has not been any announcement as to funeral arrangements but people in Wills Point have gathered to remember the five who died in the accident.
Update Nov 23 2014:
The only arrangements that have been planned as of this date is a memorial sometime after Thanksgiving.
Update Nov 24 2014:
The memorial service for the Hardman family has been set for Wednesday Nov 26 2014. It will be held at the Lakeshore Church, 5575 Highway 205 in Rockwall. The family will begin receiving friends at 10 am that morning.
The district attorney in Louisiana has stated that all charges against Andrew have been dismissed. Aaron is still reported to be in critical condition but stable at Shreveport Hospital in LA at this time.