Family Torn Apart by Wyoming Car Crash Caused by Washout

Family torn apart by Wyoming car crash caused by washoutFour people were killed on Tuesday, July 19, when the family vehicle drove into a washed-out part of a small highway in the mountains of Wyoming, The Associated Press reports.

According to the news source, the family had been camping at a nearby national forest campground when torrential rains forced them to leave early Tuesday at around 1:15 a.m. The family encountered a section of road that was in the path of a breach of water 25 feet wide and 9 feet tall, caused by the buildup of debris in the creek, which blocked large culverts designed to funnel the water below the highway. The accident occurred about 20 miles from Saratoga.

A mother and her three daughters were killed, while the husband and father managed to escape from the flooded car.

The news provider states that emergency management officials were summoned within minutes of the accident, but ran into the same washout that killed the four family members.

"I consider myself very fortunate. I was wondering if I was going to see my family again, to be quite honest with you," John Zeiger, Carbon County emergency management coordinator, told the AP from his hospital bed.

Zeiger told the news source that the water washed into his car and up to his waist, where he remained until he was rescued two hours later.

The bodies of the four women killed were recovered by emergency responders later that night.

The husband and father, Alex Constantinides, was taken to the hospital, but was released later on Tuesday.

Friends and family of the victims told the news source that Constantinides is the athletic physician at a high school in Colorado Springs, where the family lived, and that his wife worked in adoption services with Chinese Children Adoption International.

"They were such a loving couple and such loving parents," family friend Elana Hanson told the media outlet. "I'm just kind of in shock. We all are."

The Constantinides were driving a 1991 Volkswagen camper which, along with Zeiger's emergency response vehicle, remained in the creek until later on July 19 because of the high waters. The Carbon County Sheriff's Office said they conducted an aerial search of the surrounding area, but did not find any other apparent victims from the flooding, the news provider stated.

According to Reuters, State Troopers have closed 32 miles of the highway, which is known as the Snowy Range Road, in order to further investigate the debris buildup and assess what repairs need to be made.