GONZALES, LA (WAFB) - Two young boys in Ascension Parish are without their parents. Their father died in a car crash, and their mother is still in intensive care.
When the community heard the news, they stepped in to help lift some of their burdens.
Sandra McClendon is living a mother's worst nightmare. Pictures taken on the evening of February 15, 2015 show the aftermath of the crash that changed her life forever.
McClendon's son, Joey, his wife Ragan, and their two children Chase, 14, and Camron, 11, were traveling down Highway 429 near Airline Highway when their car was hit by a sports utility vehicle.
"We were at home. His father and I and got a call from a stranger saying that Chase was with her and that all of them got in a horrible wreck. Our first question to the lady was, are they alive," McClendon said.
The boys were okay, but Joey and Ragan suffered serious head injuries. They were both rushed to the hospital. Two weeks later, after a hard fought battle, Joey did not make it.
"He's at the prime of his life, accomplished all he wanted to do, and now he's not here," McClendon said.
Joey was a partner at a CPA firm. He was a man who enjoyed scouting, playing miniature golf with his boys and was known for giving back to his community.
Family friend, Michelle Poucher, is working with restaurants in Ascension Parish to host "family nights" to help raise money for the McClendons. She said the impact Joey had on others is unmistakable.
"I get a phone call from a number I don't even know every day. People are asking what they can do to help," Poucher said.
Relatives said Ragan's prognosis is good, but she still faces months of treatments. Chase and Camron are relying on the support of family and friends. The outpour of love and support is overwhelming for Sandra, who is now focused on her grandsons' futures.
"It makes me want to cry. It's very heartfelt, very, said McClendon. "I did not know that my child touched so many lives but he did. He was a very deep person and I am very proud of him. I'm sad but very proud for the life he did have. I'll miss him forever."
According to the Gonzales Police Department crash report, the driver of the SUV, Lucero Dominques, was ticketed for not having either a driver's license or insurance.
Blood samples from both drivers were submitted to the Louisiana State Police Crime lab for analysis. Investigators said neither tested positive for alcohol.
Raisin' Canes Chicken Fingers on Airline Hwy in Gonzales will donate 15% of the proceeds received March 31, from 5pm to 9pm, to the McClendon Family. People who wish to help must mention the family fundraiser at the register.