And just like that, Thanksgiving, for one family, went from being a time of great joy to a time of unspeakable tragedy.
A mother and her toddler were killed in a tragic Thanksgiving accident when their car collided with a bear in California.
Sarah Rohde, 27, was driving with her 19-month-old daughter, Ariana, in Calaveras County just after 6pm when the crash happened.
The bear was thrown over the hood of Rohde’s Subaru Impreza and flew through the windshield, according to Kevin Raggio with the Calaveras County coroner.
Both Rohde and her daughter were killed, as well as the bear, in the evening crash. Rhode’s 4-year-old son, Julian, was also in the car. He survived the crash and was taken to UC Medical Center.
It’s an absolutely crushing loss.
Rohde’s family was at the crash scene Friday looking for answers.
“She was the best mom any child could ever ask for, and she was the best daughter,” Rohde’s mother, Tracy Browning, said. “She was my rock, and I was her rock too.”
Rohde worked for Tuolumne County as a extreme tour guide at Mercer Caverns in Murphys, her family said.
“I’m having a hard time, questioning God about this. I really am,” Browning said.
Family members hope to erect a roadside memorial to the lives lost.
And there are likely to be more crashes like it in the area.
Bear accidents in Calaveras County have risen along with the bear population.
‘The bear population is growing and I don’t see it stopping. There are going to be more wrecks,’ Calaveras Fish and Game Commissioner Ron Severud said to KCRA.
Tragedies like these are a simple reminder of what’s REALLY important at Thanksgiving. Those ‘little’ things we normally take for granted, which — if taken away — leave a gaping hole in our lives.
Our health, our home, gainful employment, and the ones we love.
Stay safe out there, everyone!