Heartfelt Act by Atlanta Trooper After Parents Killed in the Car Wreck

by Doug Zanes | Last Updated: November 30, 2015

Heartfelt Act by Atlanta Trooper After Fatal Car Accident

November is a month of gratitude and giving and one Atlanta trooper truly knows how to show it in the face of tragedy…

Four children, whose parents were killed in the car wreck in Morgan County on Halloween night, are headed to Florida with their grandmother but not without a farewell from Trooper Nathan Bradley/

“They are the perfect, the kids you wish to have.  Smart, funny, intelligent, patient,” said Trooper Nathan Bradley.

Newly moved residents Donald and Crystal Howard were returning home after going to the store to buy face paint for their children, when Howard lost control of the vehicle, struck a tree, and they were killed in the car wreck. They died on scene. Helps Orphaned Children

Trooper Bradley was one of the troopers who responded to the crash and first found the couple who had been killed in the car wreck. Bradley, along with a county deputy, and deputy coroner went to the couple’s home to notify the next of kin…

Instead they were greeted at the door by the Howard’s four children, ages 13, 10, 8, and 6-years-old, all dressed in costumes and waiting for their parents to return home…

Despite what might have been a tense energy the children kept reassuring the officers that their parents were on their way back…

But Trooper Bradley knew better but could not bring himself to tell the children quite yet…

With no family in the area, all four children would have to be turned over to the Department of Family and Child Services while authorities tried to locate a family member.

Watching the children play in the front yard unaware that their parents had been killed in the car wreck, the trooper said he felt ill.

Not only would the children discover they’d lost their parents, but they would spend Halloween in a county jail until someone could tend to them…

Trooper Bradley decided to care for the children until their grandmother arrived from Sarasota, Florida, a seven hour trip.

“It was touching and I didn’t want to leave them there, and I did not want to leave them sitting in a DFACS office, so I did what I thought was right,” the trooper said.

He got his supervisor’s permission to care for the children, and then took them to get something to eat.

Afterwards he brought the children to the GSP Post in Monroe where they were joined by his Corporal’s family. They brought the Howard children candy, popcorn and a variety of Disney films.

Other residents who heard what happened showed up at the post with goodie bags and toys. Trooper Bradley said the Sheriff also showed up with four buckets filled with candy.

The children’s grandmother, Stephanie Oliver, arrived just before dawn. The children were asleep and their grandmother thought it best they not be disturbed.

“He kept my grandkids together,” she said. “He is a good man, a good man.”

The Howard children learned of their parents’ deaths later that day.

“I just, I just couldn’t bear it to break the news to them. I wanted to keep their mind as occupied as possible, and with the cooperation of their grandmother, I mean she made me give her my word I would personally look out for them and that’s what I did,” said Trooper Bradley.

Trooper Bradley has remained in touch with the family and has started a GoFundMe account to help them raise the $7,000 needed to fly their parents bodies back to Florida and cover funeral expenses.  By Wednesday evening the trooper had raised more than $100,000 on the site.

Oliver told FOX 5’s Deidra Dukes she’s moved by the support that has followed the wreck.

“They keep saying ‘you have more and more and more’ and every time I hear ‘more’ I just want to cry,” she said. “I didn’t know people I know cared so much. I’ve never dealt with this. Never, it’s just so amazing.”

For more on Trooper Bradley’s story and to make a donation go to gofundme.com/wreckonhalloween.

In the spirit of November giving, hold your family close, give a little more and look to seeing how you can be a helping hand in any given situation.

*Thank you to Fox 5 News Atlanta for the original story

Doug Zanes: Founding Attorney Raised in Douglas, Arizona, and went to college at Arizona State University and graduated from law school at St. Mary’s University School of Law in Texas. Doug began practicing law in Phoenix Arizona in 1997.
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