Bad weather blamed for accident that took three lives
Sadness enveloped Valdez last week as news of the drowning deaths of two young Valdez children and their mother spread.
The children, Trinity and Avery McIntosh, ages 7 and 5,were pronounced dead at Mat-Su Regional Hospital Thursday night, November 3, after their mother, 28-year-old Leah Thompson, allegedly lost control of the vehicle they were traveling in and rolled off the Glenn Highway and into the icy waters of Long Lake while en route to Anchorage. Thompson was pronounced dead at the scene.
Driving conditions were poor at the time of the accident according to authorities who say there were no eye witnesses to the accident that occurred Thursday night.
The children had been removed as students from Hermon Hutchens Elementary School prior to Thursday’s fatal accident.
“They had kind of said goodbye here,” before the accident, Hermon Hutchens principal Chris Bennett said when asked how young students reacted to the news. “They got to do all of their goodbyes.”
Bennett said high school councilor Mona Riddle was called, along with staff from the Valdez Counseling Center, to talk to students about the events, and parents were encouraged to talk to their children.
“It was age appropriate,” Bennett said, “It was as good as it could be under the situation.”
Young children can manifest grief in a number of ways, and may not fully understand the concept of death according to experts.
“It really turned out to be okay,” Bennett said.
The children’s father, Barry McIntosh of Valdez, could not be reached for comment.
Funeral details were not available, as efforts to reach the family in their time of grief were not successful.
First National Bank is helping to direct donation to the family to help pay for funeral arrangements according to Kate Herring, Alyeska spokesperson, who works with the children’s grandmother, Betty McIntosh.