FARMINGTON — Four members of a Farmington family are in the hospital after crashing into an empty nitrogen tanker in Wyoming while driving home in a blizzard from Montana after Christmas.
Tony Randall, 42; his wife, Stacy Randall, 38; and their daughter, Annamarie Randall, 15, are in fair condition at St. Vincent Healthcare in Billings, Mont. Jewel Randall, the couple's 13-year-old daughter, is in serious condition. The couple's 16-year-old son, Samuel Randall, was also in the car and was not seriously injured, according to police.
The four injured family members were airlifted to the hospital from Johnson County Memorial Hospital in Buffalo, Wyo., once they stabilized.
"They're almost out of the woods entirely," said Angela Douglas, the St. Vincent Healthcare's public relation specialist.
At about 10:20 a.m. Saturday, the Randalls were driving eastbound on Interstate 90 and had passed Sheridan, Wyo., when they entered blowing snow, said Wyoming State Trooper Richard Burridge, the first officer at the scene.
Moments earlier, an empty nitrogen tanker had hit two cars stopped on the interstate's slow lane, and the tanker parked in the highway, he said. When the Randalls' Dodge Caravan slammed into the tanker, he said, visibility was reduced to "zero."
"It was chaotic," he said. "It was a whiteout condition. It was a blizzard. It came on suddenly. ... It just went downhill from there."
An SUV towing a trailer crashed into the back of the minivan and drove away, hitting another wrecked vehicle farther down the highway and driving away again, Burridge said. Authorities have not identified the SUV.
Then a pickup truck rear ended the minivan, shoving it into a car parked in the breakdown lane, he said.
Other wrecks littered the eastbound and westbound lanes.
"There's cars -- not just (the Randalls') -- in the passing lane, cars in the emergency lane," Burridge said. "It was a standstill."
The interstate was closed for about three hours.
Samuel Randall was the only family member who did not have his seat belt on at the time of the crash, according to the police report. He jolted from the back of the minivan and crashed partially through the windshield, according to the police report. When Burridge reached the crushed minivan, a shocked Stacy Randall couldn't speak and cradled her son in her arms, he said.
The front of the minivan had folded in, and Johnson County Fire Control cut open the minivan to reach the Randalls.
Burridge spent 15 minutes trying to stabilize the Randalls, and he said time moved slowly around the awful scene. All were seriously injured, except for Samuel Randall, he said.
The Randalls could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.
Tony Randall has worked for the city of Farmington's Public Works Department as a street laborer for more than a year. Jeff Smaka, former department director, said he is a go-getter and a department asset.
Stacy Randall has worked for Brewer, Lee and Larkin Funeral Home in Farmington for more than a year, directing funerals and assisting with services. She is upbeat, often happy and active in church, said Sarah Mahaffey, funeral home's office manager.
Stacey Randall has called and spoken with Mahaffey several times since the crash.
"She sounds in pain," Mahaffey said. "The whole family is pretty beat up."