A family member said everyone is welcome at the weekend funeral for the man and his infant daughter who were killed in a Mother’s Day crash that ultimately took three lives on Mount Baker Highway east of Deming.
An outpouring of support continues for the family, as an online GoFundMe page had raised nearly $50,000 of its $60,000 goal Wednesday for Pamela Moyer, whose husband Philip Moyer and infant daughter Penelope Moyer were killed in the three-car wreck.
More than 1,000 individual donations were made in three days, and it was marked as a “trending” campaign by the fundraising website. In addition, a Bellingham man has donated side-by-side burial plots to the family.
“We’re so appreciative of people’s kindness and support,” said Joan Moyer of Bend, Ore., whose stepson Phillip Moyer, 25, and granddaughter Penelope Moyer, 5 months, died of injuries suffered in the wreck. “We’re hoping that people will feel welcome. There’s plenty of room in the church, and we’ll get more chairs up if we have to.”
If there’s anything to be taken away from this, it’s that people are good and all they want to do is help.
Services are scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2550 Thornton Road, Ferndale.
“We would be pleased if everyone would come,” she said. “It’s affected everyone on so many levels.”
Sunday’s crash claimed a third life – Larry E. Fitzgerald, 71, of Maple Falls, died Tuesday at St. Joseph hospital, a nursing supervisor said Wednesday. Pamela Moyer, 24, was injured in the crash. She was treated and released from the hospital Sunday.
Today the world lost a kind, wonderful man and Pamela lost her whole world.
Dr. Gary Goldfogel, the Whatcom County medical examiner, said Wednesday it couldn’t be determined if Fitzgerald suffered a medical issue that caused him to lose control of his Chevrolet Suburban about 10:30 a.m. Sunday on Mount Baker Highway between Highway 9 and Mosquito Lake Road.
“It is a possibility. Numerous tests were performed during his hospitalization in this regard and results were inconclusive,” Goldfogel said. “The severity of his injuries were such that it is difficult to separate pre- from post-accident abnormalities. I think the answer will be permanently inconclusive. I still attribute speed in excess of posted limits as contributory, and toxicology as pending.”
Fitzgerald had been in critical condition since he was rushed to the hospital by ambulance Sunday morning.
Washington State Patrol Sgt. Mark Francis said Fitzgerald, who was eastbound in his SUV crossed the centerline and drove into the path of Pamela Moyer’s westbound Toyota Yaris. Moyer swerved and Fitzgerald side-swiped her car, causing it to roll. Fitzgerald then slammed head-on into Phil Moyer, who was following his wife in a Subaru Legacy wagon. Their daughter was in a car seat in the Subaru. All were wearing seat belts.
(Penelope) was a perfect baby, bright and cheerful.
Both father and daughter died at the scene, despite the efforts of customers and staff at a nearby restaurant who left Mother’s Day brunch to help at the chaotic crash. A sheriff’s deputy and firefighters performed CPR on Penelope Moyer without success.
Firefighters and paramedics got Fitzgerald to the hospital within 47 minutes after the call was dispatched, an amazingly short time considering the distance to the crash site and that Fitzgerald had to be extricated from his SUV, said Chief Jerry DeBruin of Whatcom County Fire District 14.
Joan Moyer said her daughter-in-law is coming to grips with the tragedy and is relying heavily on her and her husband’s families for support.
“It is tough, but we’re all together and getting through this for Pam,” Joan Moyer said. “She’s doing OK now. She’s a strong, capable woman and she’ll survive this.”
Joan Moyer said she and other family members are trying to stay optimistic in the face of unfathomable tragedy.
“(Penelope) was a perfect baby, bright and cheerful,” she said.
She said her stepson worked at Taco Bell, sometimes much more than 40 hours a week, so that Pamela Moyer could stay home with her newborn. Phil Moyer was from Vashon Island, and Pamela Moyer (Qunitanilla) was from Ferndale. They both attended Western Washington University, and met at a church function.
Most recently, they had been living in Maple Falls, Joan Moyer said. She invited anyone who knew the couple to speak at a post-funeral event at the church hall.
“There’s lots of great stories about Phil,” Joan Moyer said. “He’s a great guy.”
Taco Bell coworker Shannon Einarson established the GoFundMe page.
“Today the world lost a kind, wonderful man and Pamela lost her whole world,” Einarson wrote on the website.
Among the local residents who donated to the family is Mike Bowler, who lives in the Geneva area. Bowler, a longtime Bellingham resident, offered to donate two plots at Green Acres Memorial Park in Ferndale.
Bowler said his wife died 14 years ago and was cremated. He said he wants to be cremated and have his ashes scattered locally.
“I saw this story in the paper, and I thought maybe these people don’t have anything,” Bowler said. “(Cemetery plots) are expensive.”
Joan Moyer said the family would accept Bowler’s offer.
“If there’s anything to be taken away from this, it’s that people are good and all they want to do is help,” Joan Moyer said. “We all feel that it’s the little kindnesses that make a difference. Be in the moment with the people you love.”