If you drive north of Jackson County for about 150 miles, you will arrive in the Richland County town of Shelby. On the one-year anniversary of a violent motor vehicle crash, a man stood on a hill a few miles outside of Shelby and gazed at the wreck site, remembering all he lost that day.
The grim toll
Two of John Boggs’ children were killed in the crash at a rural Richland County intersection on May 5 of last year. His infant daughter, Katherine, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash and his 12-year-old daughter, Faith, was declared brain-dead by doctors a week after the accident.
Boggs and his wife also lost an unborn child in the collision.
Forty-three-year-old Boggs and his son Bruce were injured as well, and his wife Stacy sustained a brain injury she still struggles with a year later.
Yet Boggs is grateful as he stands on an overcast and windy day, looking down on the site where a year earlier, his vehicle and life were upended. “I just want to thank the community,” he said. “It’s amazing how people stepped up and been helpful and worried about us.”
The Boggs family had just left a Sunday church service in their minivan and were headed home in their minivan on Ohio 96 when a pick-up truck blew through a stop sign and crashed into the van. Both vehicles came to a rest upside down on the grass by the intersection, the Ohio State Highway Patrol said its report later.
Under the influence
The 25-year-old driver of the Ford F-350 pickup truck was indicted early this year on a variety of charges, including aggravated vehicular homicide to operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Josh Boggs sustained a fractured skull and chipped vertebrae in the crash, but vowed afterwards that he would work to ensure that no one else would be injured in that intersection. He has kept that promise, lobbying state and local authorities, as well as the Ohio Department of Transportation, until they agreed to install “rumble” strips at the intersection.
“I think this will translate into other intersections getting fixed,” Boggs said last year after the work was completed. “In spite of the tragedy, this is a huge victory for all of us.”
Optimism and love
The news article about the case states that Stacey Boggs was released to a long-term care facility last summer, but was earlier this year hospitalized for brain surgery that has left her “in a coma-like state.”
Boggs says doctors don’t know what the future holds for her, but he adds that he remains optimistic. “I mean, the fact she lived (through the crash) is incredible, a miracle. She is still here.”