The survivors of a St. Mary Parish family are recovering, after an alleged drunk driver struck their mini-van, killing the mother, Abbie Sinitiere, her unborn child, and one-year-old son, Maxxon.
Dylan LeBlanc, 25, of Youngsville was booked with two counts of vehicular homicide, four counts of vehicular negligent injuring, first-degree feticide, and reckless operation. He remains in the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center tonight.
Three other kids were also injured in the crash and are still in the hospital.
“I am just devastated. Thinking why me? Why my family? I wish I could trade places with the ones that passed away. I would do that any day,” said Chris Sinitiere, the widower and father of the children.
Abbie was driving her kids home from shopping for school shoes when the car was struck.
“They didn’t want to tell me over the phone but I made them tell me over the phone and they said that my wife and kids had been in a bad accident,” said Chris, who was out of town for work when he found out his 22-year-old wife, who was 4 months pregnant, and his son died in the accident.
He hadn’t seen his wife or kids for about a month and a half.
“They got [Maxxon] out of the seat but he died in a police officer’s arms. I wish I could’ve been there with him, to hold him, comfort him a little bit before he went,” he said.
Three-year-old Bentley was the only one conscious when emergency responders got to the scene. He has a broken arm, fracture over his eye and a broken pelvic bone.
“He’s traumatized. He won’t talk to anyone. He’s different, he’s not the same little boy that I remember,” said Chris.
Jaiden, 11, is now up and walking around. She has a gash in the back of her head and was originally intubated at the hospital.
“My other little girl, she’s still fighting,” he said.
Marlee, 9, has a collapsed lung and pneumonia, and is in a medically induced coma. Doctors tell the family they hope to take out her tube to see if she can breathe on her own within the next few days.
Now Chris Sinitiere is holding his three kids who survived the crash extra tight, while remembering the family he lost.
“It’s just like being torn apart emotionally. You want to grieve but you don’t have time to grieve because you have to be strong for the kids that are still in the hospital,” he said.
That one moment changed the course of Chris and his family’s life, and he hopes no other family will have to go through the same tragedy.
“It’s going to be a tough road, I don’t think the family will ever be the same. So love your loved ones because you’re never promised tomorrow and don’t drink and drive. Because most of the time it isn’t your life that you’re putting in jeopardy, its everybody else’s,” he said.
The family still needs blood donors. You can go to the Lourdes Blood Donor Center on Ambassador Cafferey and donate blood in the name of Marlee, Jaiden and Bentley Sinitiere.
There will also be a blood drive for the family on August 26 in the Franklin Wal-Mart parking lot from 10 am to 3 pm.