FRESNO, Calif. -- An SUV carrying a family of five was heading north, back home to Nevada from a holiday visit to California's central coast. John McElheny was in the passenger seat, his wife Robin was driving, when a small white car came speeding toward them from the southbound lanes and through the highway median.
"She tried to get out of the way, I remember the car coming right at us and it hit our back quarter panel and I will never forget the noise. And it was like in slow motion, the car went sideways, and I looked out the window and watched the asphalt get closer and closer," said McElheny
The SUV rolled four times for what McElheny said seemed like forever.
"When the car finally stopped, I looked over at my wife and she kind of rolled over and looked at me, and I knew, and I didn't want to know. I didn't want to accept it but I knew."
His wife, Robin was dead, his two sons, 12-year-old Austin and 9-year-old Chase, suffered cuts, bruises, and one a broken foot. His 20-year-old step son Hunter was badly shaken up, but tried desperately to save his mother.
"Her own son stayed calm and tried giving her CPR to bring her back."
That stretch of I-5 is miles from medical help-- other motorists, including emergency room nurse Bethany Gerke Gonzales and her husband Ray Gonzales, who also has medical training rushed to help.
"Just seeing the family out there all together, and then the Mom, passing away in front of her kids and her husband. And they are all hurt and they were in shock and bleeding and you don't have any control and there's no one there to help them really-- we are just doing our part to help," said Bethany.
"The husband, the husband ran up-- that's when it really hit me. I looked at him, his elbows to his hands were completely covered in blood," said Ray. "He's yelling, 'help my wife, don't let her die,' said
McElheny wanted to thank all those who stopped to help, and issue a plea. The family dog Bessie, a red Queensland heeler, ran from the accident and remains missing.
"It was my wife's pride and joy-- she loved that dog."
If anyone finds the dog out there please contact the California Highway Patrol.
The CHP is still investigating why the driver of the car that hit the SUV and lost control of her car. She and a passenger were not hurt.
Husband speaks out about crash that killed wife in front of kids; dog still missing