A fatal car accident is always a tragedy, but the victims of this tragedy made this particular car accident all the more horrific.
As reported by local news outlet WTOL, on Dec. 9 just east of Stony Ridge, Ohio, Jacob Hahn and his fiancee, Savannah Harding, were driving down the highway with their 9-month-old baby, Beckett. Another local woman, Samantha Hammons, was allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol when she rear-ended another vehicle, which then crashed headlong into Hahn and Harding’s car.
Tragically, Hahn and Harding were pronounced dead at the scene; thankfully, the baby survived. Hammons was arrested on Dec. 10 and charged on two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide.
Jacob Hahn and Savannah Harding were killed in a car crash on U.S. 20 on Saturday. The community has responded by rallying around their son, 9-month-old Beckett. https://t.co/NqhfIK60SD
— WTOL 11 (@WTOL11Toledo) December 13, 2023
Her bond was set at $500,000, and she was scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 14, according to WTVG news.
As with many tragedies, however, once the community learned the identities of the victims, they pulled together to help care for their now orphaned son.
Many local businesses organized fundraising efforts for baby Beckett and his family, including local pizzeria, DeStazio’s, who donated 100 percent of their profits on Dec. 13 to this cause, WTOL reported.
As co-owner Connie DeStazio said, “We actually had a number of people come in and just make donations and didn’t even buy a pizza. Everyone just wants to support this family.”
Jes Reynolds, owner of another participating business, Unvaulted Treasures, told WTOL “None of us can take away the pain away, but we can help to ease the burden that is left behind.” Her business, as reported in WTVG news, collected gift cards, cash, and baby supplies for Beckett until Dec. 23 and donated 5 percent of the profits up until that date.
Many other local businesses have contributed to the fundraiser, either collecting supplies, donating their profits, or a combination of the two. Another local restaurant, Rayz, is likewise donating a percentage of its profits, and the owners of Dino’s Restaurant in Maumee, Ohio, has set up a memorial fund that locals can donate to with Genoa Bank.
It truly is a blessing for baby Beckett how the community has really come together in the face of this unthinkable tragedy.
Thanks to the compassion and generosity of friends, neighbors, and even total strangers, Beckett will spared at least some of the material ramifications of this tragedy.
That said, all of this tragedy and heartbreak could have been avoided had Samantha Hammons made a better decision — be that driving less recklessly or choosing not to get behind the wheel if she had been drinking. Driving while impaired in anyway is incredibly dangerous, never mind driving when under the heavy influence of alcohol.
If she was drinking, Hammons should have exercised some responsibility and refrained from driving until she sobered up. What she did was unbelievably dangerous and ended up having unimaginably tragic consequences.
A child will now grow up without his parents. Parents have lost their children.
This tragedy encompasses far more than just the immediate family who were driving down the highway.
Fortunately Hahn and Harding lived in the midst of a generous and supportive community dedicated to alleviating some of the burden of this tragedy for their infant son and their surviving families.
But nothing can truly undo what happened on the highway that day.
May that serve as a reminder for us. Our actions, whether under the influence or not, have consequences far beyond their immediate results. We should try and remember to always exercise prudence in anything we do — especially when it comes to drinking and driving.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.