As much of Wyoming continues to prepare to make their holidays something special and memorable, one rural Carbon County family is instead planning a funeral for a young father.
Richard King, 25, a husband and father of three young children, was killed the morning of Nov. 30 in a head-on collision driving to work from his home in Medicine Bow on Highway 30.
The sudden and unexpected crash has not only left a local family devastated, it’s galvanized the small community of Medicine Bow in their grief, love and support.
A Community Mourns, Reaches Out
Medicine Bow Mayor Justin George is helping lead local efforts for King’s widow and three children — ages 8, 7, and 3 — as well others hurt in the crash.
That includes Angel Solaria, 21, a close King family friend and a passenger in King’s 2013 Infinity JX35 that collided with a Jeep Compass driven by Zachary Clar of Laramie.
George said King’s extended family moved to Wyoming from California earlier this fall in search of a better place to raise their families.
“They had not had time to get established,” he said.
The Highway Patrol reports King and Solorio were headed eastbound toward Laramie and Clar westbound when Clar’s Jeep crossed the centerline, overcorrected, spun and hit the Infinity.
King was wearing a seat belt while Solorio and Clar, who weren’t, were ejected from their vehicles. Solorio has since been released from a hospital while Clar’s condition could not be confirmed by publication time.
George said he also knows Clar, because he would stop at his gas station and grocery while headed to work on wind turbines.
One Of Their Own
Although the King family hadn’t been settled in Medicine Bow for long, that doesn’t matter, George said.
When he was contacted by the town marshal about how to help the family, George said he and the area churches were quick to step up. He also heard from two Union Pacific Railroad employees who were first on the crash scene. They suggested establishing a GoFundMe campaign for the family.
King’s wife remains in a “grieving process,” George said, but that she has expressed how much she now understands why her husband wanted to move to a small town to raise their children.
“They are overwhelmed by the response from a community they have been in for months,” George said.
The online campaign has so far raised nearly $4,000, while a separate GoFundMe from King’s mother in California has raised about $400.
Along with losing the main earner in the household, the family also has an outstanding balance with Casada Funeral Home and Crematory for King’s funeral, which is Saturday.
George said Solorio broke his femur and hip in the crash and is now out of the hospital.
He has offered Solorio’s wife a job at his gas station as a means to help the family.
George said he’s heard someone else has approached Solorio about giving him a job that would allow him to work as he recovers from his injuries.
As a former flight nurse, George said he understands Solario’s family will start incurring significant medical bills.
Dale Killingbeck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.