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Rapid City family thanks first responders after near fatal car accident

Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 8:07 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Nearly two months ago, a crash off Highway 16 had members of the Kroetch family hospitalized with serious injuries.

Amber, the mother, says she’s grateful her children were buckled up.

However, she says seatbelts weren’t the only thing that saved their lives.

The Story

August 18, Amber Kroetch says her family was in Rapid City and “celebrating my daughter’s 11th birthday.”

Amber says they were taking a left onto Highway 16 and “had four of the children with me.”

Lydiah Kroetch, her 9-year-old daughter, says she “was actually sleeping in the car.”

“All I remember is seeing a Coca-Cola Truck coming very quickly,” says Amber. As for her daughter, Lydiah, she says, “all I remember is somebody carrying me and then walking in.”

“My husband,” says Ambera, “was able to run on scene. He received a phone call and he came.”

“I arrived at the scene about ten minutes after the accident,” says Marty Kroetch, Amber’s husband. “You don’t want to think that you lost one of your family members, but after the first initial sight of the inside of the vehicle, it was hard not to think somebody might have perished in the accident.”

Their son was stuck, and Marty says he “really couldn’t comprehend what anyone was telling me. I was just really concerned about getting my son out of the car.”

That’s a part Amber won’t forget, because, she says “what I relive is seeing my son’s face. Death, he’s about to die.”

The family says if it weren’t for first responder’s, he might have, because “they knew exactly what needed to be done,” says Marty.

“If it weren’t for them,” says Amber, “we wouldn’t be here.”

One of the First Responder’s was the Fire Chief of Rockerville Volunteer Fire Department, Gail Schmidt, who says “we had an 8-year-old trapped in that vehicle whose life was in dire straights at the current time. We knew he was still alive, but maybe didn’t have as much time as we would have hoped.”

“It was a miracle that we got out of that vehicle,” says Amber.

“The opportunities to meet these families afterwards,” says Schmidt, “after such a serious situation and scenario and know that they’re all physically healing, and knowing that our response was just a small part of that is really it. It’s an opportunity to serve and be a part of something significantly bigger than just one person.”

“Words can’t express the thanks that we would love to express to all the people that had helped us,” says Marty.

“I was one victim who benefitted from your service,” says Amber to nearby First Responders. “So, thank you.”

“I hope to see a time when we can look back on this. I hope it’s not too terribly far away,” says Marty.

“Just a really bad accident that nearly killed some of my children. We’re doing good,” says Amber, “but it’s going to take time to heal.”

“I love my family,” says Lydiah, “I wish we never got in a car accident. I’m glad that God was with us, and I’m glad my siblings weren’t hurt very much.”

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