Lori and Chris Coble were parents to three adorable children: Kyle, who had just turned 5 years old, Emma, who was 4 years old, and Katie, who was 2 years old. It was the day after Kyle’s 5th birthday that everything changed. However, none of them knew that just yet. Lori had decided to treat the kids to a day out in honor of the birthday. And so, they went to ride a Ferris wheel and then go to a pet store. As nap time came nearer and nearer, the family started making their way home.
The outing was absolutely perfect. Lori brought her mother, Cindy, along as well to help out. The kids had such a good time and were all tired out from the excitement. Lori saw it as a successful day for all of them. As she was driving the kids and her mother home in the minivan, she hit a line of backed-up traffic as she tried exiting the highway. Of course, she didn’t think much of it, she just slowed down to a stop.
When she was stopped, Lori turned around and saw that Katie was starting to fall asleep. So, the mother gently tickled the little girl’s toes to keep her awake. She wanted Katie to be able to nap when they would all get home. However, that was the last thing Lori remembered before she woke up in a hospital with a concussion. It turned out that the worst had happened: a truck loaded with 40,000 pounds of cargo slammed into the back of Lori’s minivan.
The truck had been going 55 miles per hour at the time of the accident. It ended up demolishing the car. While Lori was unconscious, the kids were severely injured. In fact, things were so bad that emergency services had no choice but to take the family to three different hospitals. Cindy and Lori were sent to one hospital, Katie and Kyle to another, and Emma to a third. Meanwhile, Chris was at work when this all happened.
Notifiying The Husband
After the accident, the authorities notified Chris of what happened. He was shocked. Immediately, he dropped everything and rushed to the hospital that Lori and Cindy were taken to. When he got there, he was brought into a small room next to the ER. That’s when the doctor gave him the first devastating piece of news: “The doctor told me, ‘I’m sorry, but Katie has expired.'” Chris recalled. However, the father didn’t know there was more bad news to come.
“A few more minutes went by, and they told me there was a call from the doctor from Saddleback Hospital. I got on the phone, and the first thing I said was, ‘Please tell me Emma’s alive.’ And he said, ‘I’m sorry, but Emma has expired,'” Chris said. “I just dropped the phone. I just couldn’t believe that it was happening.” As if things weren’t horrifying enough, Chris was burdened with the task of informing Lori of their daughters’ passing. He knew he and his wife would never be able to recover from this trauma.
Chris told Lori that both the girls had died. Then, he had to rush to the hospital where Kyle had been admitted. Kyle’s eyes were open, giving the distraught father hope, but the doctors told him the truth: Kyle’s brain hadn’t been getting any oxygen. They suggested taking Kyle off of life support. That’s when Lori was transported to Kyle’s hospital. She and Chris wanted to have the chance to say goodbye to their 5-year-old son together.
“She’s climbing out of the wheelchair the best she can to hug Kyle and saying: ‘He’s got to go be with his sisters now. His sisters are waiting for him,'” Chris said. “We stopped life support, and the machines went dark and the room went dark. I held my hand on his chest until his heart stopped beating. And he was gone.” The parents felt like nothing that was happening was real. However, things started to become real when they had to plan Kyle, Emma, and Katie’s funeral and burial. How could they go on after this?
“We promised not to leave each other alone,” Lori said, talking about her and her husband’s grief. It was a long and painful process for the couple. They were now childless parents. Still, they didn’t want to give up. Three months after the accident, the couple made a big decision: they would try and have more children. For medical reasons, they tried in vitro fertilization. They started with 10 eggs on their first try, and three were successfully fertilized – two girls and a boy. It was almost like a sign from above. What would happen next?
One Year Later
Almost exactly a year after the horrible accident, Lori gave birth to triplets – Ashley, Ellie, and Jake. While their births are nothing short of a miracle, the parents still couldn’t help but grieve for their lost children. “They’ll never replace Kyle, Emma, and Katie,” Lori said. “But the joy is back in the house. It’s back in our hearts. They fill our lives again with love and happiness and laughter.”
Keep Moving Forward
From a young age, the parents made sure to tell the triplets about their older siblings. There are still pictures of them up on the walls and Chris and Lori speak about them. “They know that they have two sisters and a brother in heaven,” Lori said. “And we go to the cemetery and we have picnics.” For this family, their story will never truly be over, but the least they could get is some closure. The truck driver who hit them was convicted on three counts of vehicular manslaughter.