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Trooper says Whidbey Island twins’ bravery after crash will stay with her


Two brave Whidbey Island 4-year-olds are being called heroes after taking quick action to try to save their father in a crisis.

When their father’s Nissan went off the road and down a 20-foot embankment on Friday evening west of Clinton on Whidbey Island, the twin girls knew that they needed to get help.

“These two 4-year-olds got themselves out of their booster seat, checked on their dad, and realized Dad was in desperate need of help, as were they,” said Washington State Patrol Trooper Heather Axtman, the public information officer for District 7, which covers Northwestern Washington.

They climbed out of the broken back window and climbed up the hill to get to the road and flag down drivers. Axtman said that troopers noted how steep of a drop the ravine was, covered in underbrush that would make climbing a challenge.

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“If you have troopers on the scene who are describing it as a steep embankment, I cannot imagine in the eyes of a 4-year-old how steep and treacherous that was,” she said.

A driver who happened to be passing at the moment the girls appeared at the top of the embankment spotted the girls and immediately pulled over to help.

“It’s as if those girls made it to the end of the roadway at the exact moment that she passed,” Axtman said.

The driver brought the girls into her warm car, and they told her their dad needed help. She called 911 right away.

“That good Samaritan deserves praise … her life was impacted this night as well,” Axtman said.

Sadly, the girls’ father, 47-year-old Corey Simmons of Langley, was killed at the scene of the accident.

“It’s such a tragic crash, but to highlight … the bravery that these little girls showed — every little kid has the typical fear of dark and woods — and they overcame both of these fears to commandeer help for their father,” Axtman said. “That to me is heroic.”

If the girls had not taken such decisive action, Axtman said that the story could have had an even more tragic ending. She noted that with broken windows, the inside of the car would have been as cold as the night air.

“We could ultimately be looking for a missing family … I don’t even want to fathom what the outcome could have been,” she said.

The Washington State Patrol is still investigating the cause of the accident, but Axtman noted that Bob Galbreath Road on Whidbey Island is a narrow, two-lane road that is wooded and not well-lit.

The girls were reunited with their mother after the ordeal. Axtman said that although she has seen many horrific crashes after more than a decade in law enforcement, the tragedy of this one — in particular as the holiday season is starting — will stick with her. So too, however, will the twins’ courage.

“It’s so brave, and the love that they showed for their dad that night is so incredible,” she said. “Hopefully they just understand the bravery that they showed, because if they can just hold onto that bravery for the rest of their lives, they will go places.”

A GoFundMe has been set up to assist Simmons’ family during this difficult time. To donate, click here.

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from 12-3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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