October 19, 2020

CO towns stunned by crash deaths of 5 children


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KIT CARSON, Colo. (AP) β€” The 12 children who lived in the Mitchell House Children’s home would go in and out of the Trading Post store next door so often that manager Annette Weber would think nothing of it.

“One of the kids was in the store this morning, he always bought a Mountain Dew,” Weber said Thursday.

Five of the children in the group home, all described by school officials as foster children or adopted children of Howard and Melody Mitchell, died earlier Thursday when their van collided with an empty cattle trailer on a highway construction zone. Howard Mitchell, 57, a sheriff’s deputy for Cheyenne County, was driving the van and also died.

Seven other children were injured. Six were transported to hospitals in Denver, while a seventh was treated at a local hospital and released.

“I still can’t believe what’s happened,” Weber said. “I think it’s definitely going to affect the community for a long time.”

While the Mitchells lived in Kit Carson, the children attended school in Eads, another small farming community about 22 miles south of less than 600 residents. They were on their way there when the accident happened.

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