“It’s a miracle that my son is alive, and I’m thankful that I can — most likely — we’re going to bring him home.”

LINCOLN, Calif. — A day of celebration ended in tragedy for a family in Lincoln.

A mother and her four-year-old son, Easton, were involved in an accident that sent the child to the hospital, but the mother, Ashley Rhodes, did not survive.

“It kills you when you see your child in pain and you can’t take the pain away,” said Travis Nunes, father and husband of Easton Rhodes.

The crash happened at Lincoln Boulevard and Ferrari Ranch Road Monday afternoon. Rhodes and her son were driving on the roadway when the train collided with their car, pushing it onto the tracks before it fell near Auburn Ravine.

Rhodes died at the scene and Easton was taken to UC Davis Trauma Center. The four-year-old boy is in critical condition, with two broken femurs, bruised lungs and bruises all over his body.

The accident happened as the two were returning home after a mommy and me bowling date.

“My wife was the best mother in the world, she protected her children from everything and was overly careful with them,” Nunes said.

Nunez said he was unable to adequately grieve his wife, whom he described as a selfless woman who found friends wherever she went. His priority at the moment is his children and getting his child home.

“He’s a fighter, just like his mom,” Nunez said.

Nunez was by his son’s side in the hospital. On Thursday, he told him what happened to his mother.

“He didn’t talk much. His eyes began to water. His lip quivered. His bottom lip quivered and he just rolled over on his side and I could clearly see that he was depressed. He lost his mom and his best friend,” Nunes said. said.

Through the pain, Nunes said the outpouring of support from the community keeps him motivated. A GoFundMe raised more than $100,000 in one day to help with funeral, medical and recovery costs.

“I appreciate every person and I love everyone who has given something, whether it’s their time or their money, because moving forward, it’s going to be a struggle,” he said.

Meanwhile, Union Pacific officials said initial investigative reports indicated the level crossing gates were down and functioning as intended. Community members have raised concerns about the crossing, and Nunes said he will fight for answers

“You better believe we’re going to figure this out. She is irreplaceable. The fact that my son is alive is a miracle and I’m thankful that I was able to – most likely – we will bring him home,” Nunes said. .

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