COVINGTON, Ga. - A Newton County man was headed to see Santa with his family when he died in a car crash, but a local police department stepped up to bring the family some holiday cheer.
Sabrina and Tyler Evans were on their way to Athens on Monday for dinner and to take their two young sons to see Santa. It was the couple’s 14th wedding anniversary, and the boys’ birthdays are just a couple of weeks away.
Sabrina Evans was driving and said she didn’t see an oncoming car when she tried to turn. The family vehicle was hit broadside, and her husband was killed.
“I don’t know. I have to live with the guilt on me,” she told Channel 2’s Diana Davis.
Her husband was in the front passenger seat next to her, while the boys, Joel, 7, and Chase, 5, were in the back seat.
“My first instinct was to get my kids out of the car, because he was screaming he couldn’t breathe,” Evans said.
She and the boys received only minor injuries. The car was mangled, but the boys’ Christmas list was recovered from the wreck.
At their home in Covington, the lights on the Christmas tree Tyler Evans put up with the boys just days ago still twinkles.
“He actually put the star on the top of the tree. This is our first house we even bought, and I thought this was actually going to be a good year, because we were actually able to find a house that we could afford,” Sabrina Evans said.
On Thursday, the boys tossed a football as their mom made funeral arrangements. Moved by the family's heartbreak, Covington police wrapped gifts for the boys, the same toys listed on the Christmas list that never made it to Santa. They went to the Evans’ home Thursday and brought along the Santa that the boys had hoped to visit.
“I told them that I called Santa and told him that we were on our way the other day and that we were in an accident, but we were going to try to make it for them to see him,” Sabrina Evans said.
The aching in the hearts of the family is still fresh, but Evans told Davis the gesture from a caring community helps.
And these aren’t the only good works the Covington Police Department does. After they leave the Evans’ home, the officers are going shopping with 30 other children to buy gifts in hopes of brightening Christmas.
Covington’s Police Who Care program raises money throughout the year to help children and community members going through tough times.
“We see a lot of terrible things happen as police offers. Anytime we can do something to help. It really helps. It helps us, as police officers, dealing with tragedies,” Covington Police Officer Ken Malcom said.