Sasha, shortly before her 6th birthday and my son Sean (age 7), June 1996
photo ©1996 Henry S. Rosner/Geopaix
Sasha was the youngest daughter of Linda Saar and Mark Sechrist of Las Cruces, New Mexico. When my son Sean and I arrived in Las Cruces Sasha was 5 and Sean was 7. They immediately connected. They rode their bikes together, played together, got in trouble together and camped out in the living room with Sasha's older brother Jason. They became fast friends.

Sasha was a sweet little kid with an imaginative sense of humour. I have an incredible amount of empathy for her dad, Mark, who lost his two little girls in a moment of absolute senselessness. He was kind to Sean and I when we were visiting in Las Cruces and I will always remember him as a loving father.

Sasha missed her eighth birthday by 29 days. That's unacceptable! Children are not meant to pass before their parents. There is something inherently wrong with that.

Also lost in the accident was Sasha's sister Sarah, age 10, their mother, Linda, age 42, Linda's toddler son Andrew Saar, age 3, adult daughter Jennie Hanson, age 21 and Jennie's baby son Isaiah, age 7 months. At a little past 2:20am PDT on July 1, 1998 the six of them were killed while stopped on I-10 East as a result of the authorities cleaning up an earlier traffic accident that killed a Northridge, California college student on the shoulder of I-10 as he was trying to change a flat tire.

A tractor trailer that was stopped behind Linda was thrust atop their Ford Taurus by a second tractor trailer that came barreling down the highway, driven by a man who had apparently fallen asleep and simply made no effort to stop. Their Ford Taurus was destroyed. Imagine the confluence of circumstances that needed to be in place in order for that terrible event to have occurred. Now try to wrap your head around it. I've tried... can't be done. This event f***ed up my head big time for years. Eventually I was able to come to terms with it. I can only hope that each of their spirits are at peace.

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