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Family recovering from accident, loss


The Ross family continues to recover from an automobile accident west of Trout Creek last week. Sam Ross of Trout Creek was killed in the accident when he was ejected from the family's Suburban. Ross's wife, JoAnn, said that Sam had taken the children fishing and swimming at the frog pond near Trout Creek all day, and the family was on their way home when the accident occurred.

"They were almost home," JoAnn said, noting that the accident occurred within a couple miles of their home west of Trout Creek.

JoAnn Ross said that lug nuts broke on the vehicle, causing a wheel to fall off the Suburban. She said that the family had recently purchased the used vehicle.

Those riding with Sam in the vehicle were the couple's five grandchildren, who they have been raising since birth, as well as the couple's ex-daughter-in-law Sandy, who is the children's mother. JoAnn added that Sandy was ejected from the vehicle and was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where she had two rods and eight screws inserted into her back. JoAnn said that Sandy broke three discs in her back and injured her sternum, ribs and spleen.

"I've talked to her several times. She's in good spirits," Ross said of Sandy's recovery.

One grandchild was airlifted to Kootenai Medical Center in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, Joann said, after it was thought she had a broken hip. Ross said that was not the case, and the granddaughter had bumps and bruises.

Ross said that all five of the grandchildren, who range in age from 9 to 15, suffered minor injuries, with one child requiring eight stitches in her leg.

"The kids are all doing good," Ross said, "with the exception of a few sleepless nights."

Ross said she was "overwhelmed with the support that we got out there at the scene" after the accident, noting that Trout Creek Rural Fire Department, Thompson Falls and Noxon Ambulance Services, as well as the Montana Highway Patrol and Sanders County Sheriff's Office responded to the call. "We know so many of them personally and it helped keep the kids calm."

Ross noted that many people in the community have helped with food and things for her grandchildren. A Go Fund Me account was set up to help the family with funeral expenses. As of Tuesday, more than $3,000 had been raised for the family. Donations can be made by going to and searching for "Sam Ross."

"We are getting lots of support," Ross said. "We have a good community."

Services for Sam Ross were held Wednesday, June 6, in Trout Creek, with a reception following at the Lakeside Resort, where Joann once worked.

"Sam liked to pick me up after work and sit out back," Ross said.


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