COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)–A mom was on Facebook Monday night pleading for help for her family as they tried to push their broken down vehicle off the freeway at Interstate 270 and Georgesville Road. No help arrived and they were struck from behind by a suspected drunk driver.
The Sanderell family has been homeless for about a year. Anthony and Frances Sanderell and their four children have been living out of a small travel trailer that they move from one state park facility to another every two weeks.
Frances says they’ve been using an aging SUV to try to get everyone to school and work. But Monday evening the vehicle broke down on I-270 on the west side of Columbus. They started pushing the broken down vehicle toward the Georgesville exit.
Frances put the following call call out to her Facebook friends at 6:59pm:
“Urgent Request!!!!! My family is stuck on the side of the freeway…….we have lost our transmission………we do not have any cash left as we just spent everything we had to get new parts and fluid……..please if someone could just help us get off of the freeway………it would be greatly appreciated……….we are on 270 south 1 mile from georgesville road……..please we just need to get off of the freeway”
Help never arrived. They pushed for several hours. Frances posted several more pleas on Facebook. Police came by periodically to check on them but Frances explained that they could not afford a tow truck.
By 11p.m. they had pushed the vehicle to the Georgesville Rd. exit ramp when they were struck from behind. Noah, 14, says he woke up in the ditch. “I knew something was wrong with my leg,” Noah told NBC 4. “I stumbled over in front of my brother. He was face down. He wasn’t breathing.”
His brother, 16- year-old Aidan, was thrown head-first into the windshield of the other car and then off the car and onto the ground. Frances says Aidan suffered two broken legs and had pieces of glass embedded in his arm. He was scheduled for surgery at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
A third son, 22-year-old Ian, suffered only minor foot injuries.
Neither Anthony nor Frances were hurt. Anthony had been in front of their vehicle when it was hit and Frances had just jumped into the driver’s seat to put the car in park so they could all take a break.
Police arrested the female driver of the other car on suspicion of driving under the influence.
Once help arrived, Frances posted another message for her friends on Facebook:
“Thanks to all for the help…….my boys are all critically hurt and on the way to the hospital after being hit by a drunk driver and thrown into the windshield………covered in blood”
“I certainly don’t blame anybody at all,” Frances told NBC 4. “I don’t know if I would have responded to a message like that. I can’t say that I would have or wouldn’t have. I don’t blame anyone. I blame her.”