A Missouri family’s trip to their grandmother’s house turned fatal when they tried to cross a river during high waters on Saturday.
Jacob Luttrull, 33, was driving his three boys, ages 2, 5 and 8, across a low bridge in Bollinger County, Missouri when swift currents swept the vehicle off the bridge. Luttrull was driving on County Road 356, five miles southeast of the city of Patton.
The vehicle, a Ford Explorer, was crossing Little White Water Creek, when it was was swept away around 9:15 a.m., according to a incident report from the Missouri State Highway Patrol. While Luttrull and the 2-year-old survived, his two other boys, Kayden and Brantley, tragically did not.
The highway patrol’s report said that the car “traveled into [a] flooded crossing,” and was “swept away with all occupants entering the water.”
Kayden and Brantley were pronounced dead on the scene, and their bodies were transported to Liley Funeral Home in Marble Hill.
Luttrull, who sustained “moderate” injuries in the terrible accident, was taken by ambulance to St. Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau. The youngest survivor was airlifted to a hospital in St. Louis for “serious” injuries, according to the MSHP’s report.
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North Bollinger County fire department volunteer Jason Yount — who also happens to be Kayden and Brantley’s great uncle — was one of the first responders on the scene and told local station KFVS that the bridge Luttrull attempted to cross floods regularly. On Saturday, he said that it was inundated with three to four feet of water.
“The water on the bridge was so swift I thought, ‘Oh my gosh who in their right mind would try and cross it?’ I couldn’t believe it,” Yount told the outlet. “Angela Thompson and her boyfriend spotted the vehicle in the river with one of the boys on top. They called the Bollinger County Sheriff’s Department and it all fell in place.”
Yount described Kayden and Brantley as beloved members of the family who loved playing outdoors.
“It’s sad that they’re gone, but we’re just trying to keep the memories,” he told KFVS. “Them boys loved helping me and dad cut wood and hull wood. They loved riding their bikes out here. We have all of their play toys. We think about them, even though they’re not with us.”
A GoFundMe has been set up to help the family with funeral expenses.
“Kayden and Brantley along with their dad and 2 year old brother were swept away in a flash flood,” Angela Thompson, the fundraiser’s organizer, wrote.
“Dad and the baby made it out, but are in the hospital and last known, the baby is in critical condition. As for Kayden and Brantley, they were found a while later downstream. They both lost their life.”
“The family of the boys did not have life insurance and are in need of help with funeral expenses, as well as financial assistance with bills as they will miss work during this horrific time,” the GoFundMe post continues.
On Sunday, Thompson shared an update on Luttrull and the 2-year-old, announcing that they were both recovering well from their injuries.
“In our darkest hours, we have a ray of sunshine,” the update read. “The boy’s dad and little brother are doing good and have been released from the hospital.”
As of Tuesday, nearly $17,000 had been raised out of the $20,000 goal.