Society

Mom Loses Three Kids In Car Crash, Then Has Triplets

| by Kathryn Schroeder
Chris and Lori Coble with their tripletsChris and Lori Coble with their triplets

The parents of three children who died in a horrific car crash got pregnant with triplets months after their deaths.

Lori and Chris Coble had celebrated their son Kyle’s fifth birthday the day before a rig loaded with 40,000 pounds of cargo going 55 miles per hour hit the family’s minivan on a Southern California highway, according to an Oprah interview that was published on CNN.

Lori, her three children -- Kyle, 4-year-old Emma, and 2-year-old Katie -- and her mother Cindy were in the minivan when it was demolished by the big rig. Their injuries were so severe that they had to be transported to different hospitals.

Chris was notified at work of the accident and rushed to the hospital where Lori and Cindy were being treated.

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The news he received upon arrival was not good.

"The doctor told me, 'I'm sorry, but Katie has expired,'" Chris said. "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. I just dropped the phone. I just couldn't believe that it was happening."

Kyle was on life support, but doctors recommended he be removed from the machines because his brain had not been receiving oxygen.

Lori was transported to Kyle’s hospital and together she and Chris said goodbye to their son.

"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 couple experienced profound grief following the deaths of their children, but three months after the accident they decided to try and have more.

By using in vitro fertilization, Lori became pregnant with triplets -- two girls and a boy.

"We were only going to put two back in, but once we found out that it was two girls and a boy, we took that as a sign from above," Lori said.

Almost one year after Kyle, Emma and Katie died, Lori gave birth to Ashley, Ellie and Jake.

"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."

The driver of the rig, father-of-three Jorge Romero, was convicted on three counts of vehicular manslaughter and given a one year jail sentence. Lori and Chris have forgiven him.

"Mr. Romero was actually a very kind-hearted, gentle person," Chris said. "Just by telling this story you might jump to vilify somebody right away, but there is someone behind the wheel, and while they shared some of the blame in this tragedy, he just felt absolutely horrible."

Lori and Chris blame the freeway’s construction for causing the accident.

"I was stuck in traffic on a freeway waiting to exit and I was about half a mile back on the freeway, basically in a parking lot," Lori said. "There's a blind curve coming up to that exit, and I was so far back in that blind curve that he didn't see me. By the time he saw traffic, it was too late."

The couple sued the California Department of Transportation for wrongful death, but lost the case, The Orange County Register reported.

They later reached a settlement agreement with Caltrans and will only have to pay $75,000 in fees and costs, a much smaller sum than the $291,534.04 the court ordered them to pay after losing the wrongful death case.

The Cobles may not have won the wrongful death lawsuit, but they did succeed in getting Caltrans to fix the road, making it safer for future drivers.

Sources: Oprah via CNN, The Orange County Register / Photo Credit: Naji/Facebook via Little Things

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