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El Paso County woman, 3 children killed in Wyoming head-on crash

June 19, 2017 Updated: June 20, 2017 at 8:52 am
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An El Paso County woman and her three children were killed in a head-on crash Friday afternoon near Baggs, Wyo., that claimed five lives in total, the Wyoming Highway Patrol said Monday.

Heather White, 44, and children Bruce, 16, Megan, 15, and Scott, 12, died at the scene of the crash, which happened shortly before 3 p.m. on Wyoming 789, troopers said. A passenger in the second vehicle, Katie O'Keefe, 28, of Casper, Wyo., also died on scene.

Both vehicles were engulfed in flames when troopers arrived.

"Heather, Bruce, Megan and Scott spent their lives serving people for Jesus," Heather's husband, Gordon White, said in a written statement. "It was my great privilege to watch them live out their faith and help them as a husband and father when I could. They enjoyed being a part of this community, and all the expressions of care and sympathy are a testimony of their impact."

Heather White was driving a 2010 Nissan Armada southbound on Wyoming 789 when the vehicle drifted into northbound traffic and collided with a northbound 2008 Chevrolet Silverado pickup that was pulling an enclosed trailer, troopers said.

The vehicles "immediately caught fire upon impact," troopers said. Bystanders pulled the driver of the pickup from the flames, and he was taken by helicopter to a hospital in Denver.

Inattention and speed by the driver of the Nissan are being investigated as factors in the crash, troopers said.

Heather and the children were driving from church camp to visit her family in Montana, according to Gordon White's sister, Lori White. Gordon was back home in Colorado.

"Thank you to everyone who has called, texted or written to send love and prayers to our family at this time of such tragic loss," Lori White wrote in a post on CaringBridge, a website designed to share health information. "We know that this is a utter shock to all of you, as it was to us."

District 49 released a statement following the crash as Bruce, Megan and Scott were all students at Falcon High and Middle Schools. Bruce was to begin his senior year at Falcon, Megan was going to be a sophomore and Scott was advancing to the seventh grade. 

"The White family has been in District 49 since 2010 and their impact is wide," the district's Director of Communications Matt Meister said. "Collectively and individually, they made us smile and laugh in the hallways of Woodmen Hills Elementary School, Falcon Middle School, and Falcon High School. Heather, Bruce, Megan, and Scott will be deeply missed."

Grief counselors will be available for students and families at Falcon High School Wednesday from 10 a.m. to noon. 

News of the deaths was posted on the Facebook page of Church at Briargate, the family's church.

"Please be in prayer for Gordon during this extremely difficult time," the post said. Dozens commented to express their disbelief and promise their prayers.

The church announced that a memorial will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at Radiant Church, 4020 Maizeland Road.

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