Crystal Clark tragically lost both her kids to a freak campground accident. And now, the devastated mom is warning others in the hopes of saving lives.
When Crystal Clark took her 9-year-old son Xander and 8-year-old daughter Ziva to Indian Oaks Campground in Indiana, she never could have guessed it would be her last day with her kids. The campground was a frequent destination for the family. And it was a place where Crystal’s two children loved playing.
However, on this particular day in April 2022, a campground accident transformed it into a place of tragedy, one that would impact Crystal Clark’s life forever.
Campground Accident Kills Siblings
Crystal’s two children were enjoying a day of fun at the campground when something horrible happened. A huge gust of wind blew a dead tree over and it landed right on top of Xander and Ziva, killing the two siblings.
The campground accident devastated Crystal Clark and her husband. And it left them struggling to make sense of the sudden tragedy.
“Some days I feel like it’s just the day after. It does hit you hard at times,” she said of the overwhelming loss.
However, rather than allowing the anguish of the campground accident to swallow her up, Crystal has channeled her grief into trying to help others.
Crystal is sharing her story to inform others, hoping to spare them from suffering this type of tragedy.
“It’s one of those things as a parent - you think of a million and one things, how your child could get hurt. A tree falling was never one of those,” she said. “We want to raise that awareness.”
Not a day goes by when Crystal Clark doesn’t think about her two children. She says Xander was always full of facts and trivia, and was “such a good-hearted soul” with a “deep genuine love for everybody who was around.”
Ziva was her “firecracker.” The girl loved gymnastics and Crystal recalls her as “really just kind of the light of everybody and every time we were at functions.”
Crystal Clark Warns Others Of Danger Signs
In her children’s honor, Crystal launched a billboard campaign encouraging people to check for dead trees in their yard, at parks, and at campgrounds. By talking about what happened to Xander and Ziva, Crystal hopes to educate others on how to spot and avoid dangerous trees to avoid the type of accident they experienced at the campground.
“My hope is to continue to spread the word and continue to get it out there. With them being on a billboard, that’s a thousand more people that will see it every day. And it’ll make people think twice, you know ‘Maybe I should check that. Maybe I should take care of that tree that doesn’t look so well,” the mom said.
Some signs that a tree is dead (and a potential danger) include:
- Lots of dead branches – all trees will have some dead branches. But an abundance of dead branches could be a sign the tree is dying.
- If you scratch the bark on the tree, it should be moist and green inside. If it’s brown and brittle, that’s a sign the tree is dying. While some trees naturally shed bark, look to see what’s under the bark to see if there could be rotting or disease
- Listening for woodpeckers
- Mushrooms and fungi on the trunk could be a sign that the insides of the tree are rotting
Our hearts and prayers go out to Crystal Clark and her family. What happened to them is absolutely heartbreaking.
We’ll likely never have an answer this side of Heaven as to why tragedies like these occur. But what an inspiration to see Crystal embracing this new purpose put on her life, to help educate and warn others.
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“The Lord is near the broken-hearted; He is the Savior of those whose spirits are crushed down.” Psalm 34:18
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h/t: WRTV Indianapolis
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