Entire family including two young girls killed in Thanksgiving crash
All four members of a North Dakota family who disappeared Thanksgiving day were found dead Friday night after their SUV crashed on Thursday morning.
Authorities have identified the deceased as Air Force Staff Sgt. Anthony Dean and his wife Chelsi, both 25, and their two young daughters, Kaytlin, age 5, and Avri, age 1.
The crash that killed the former Idaho family occurred in Montana on Thanksgiving morning after they had left Caldwell, Idaho, around 4 p.m. on Wednesday.
The Deans resided in Manvel, North Dakota, but had returned to Idaho for a visit and were traveling from Caldwell to Ekalaka, Montana, to have Thanksgiving dinner with Chelsi’s grandmother when the fatal crash occurred.
According to KIVI TV in Boise, Chelsi had messaged her mother at about 1 a.m. Thursday to say they were stopping to sleep in Billings, Montana. At 6:30 a.m. Thursday, Chelsi messaged her grandmother to tell her they were leaving Billings and would arrive in Ekalaka in about four hours.
The Montana Highway Patrol said the Dean family was driving a blue Toyota 4Runner east on Interstate 94 when at around 7 a.m. Thursday the vehicle went off the road and traveled down the median for some time before going airborne and hitting a concrete bridge support.
The SUV landed in a creek and due to shrubs and the distance of the vehicle from the freeway, it was not discovered until about 8 p.m. Friday when the Montana Highway Patrol located it by pinging the couple’s cell phones. Everyone in the wrecked SUV was dead.
The crash occurred near Huntley, Montana, about 13 miles east of Billings.
Anthony’s mother L.D. Webb of Caldwell made a Facebook post declaring her son’s family missing and asking for information at about 8 a.m. Friday. Her post was shared over 18,000 times.
The Deans were originally from Caldwell and moved to North Dakota after Anthony was assigned to the Grand Forks Air Force Base in that state, according to a press release from the Air Force.
According to Webb’s Facebook post, Air Force search and rescue helicopters were dispatched to assist in finding the family.
Chelsi was a member of the Manvel, North Dakota, Volunteer Fire Department.
The Montana Highway Patrol said speed is suspected to be a factor in the crash that killed the family.