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Police identify victims after Monday's fatal crash

Updated: Tuesday, June 24 2014, 10:22 PM EDT

By: Maria Miller

CONEMAUGH TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Friends and family are heartbroken after a freak accident in Somerset County on Monday claimed the lives of two young girls.

Investigators say a tree fell onto a car in Conemaugh Township, causing the car to crash into a utility pole. The mother and her boyfriend are in serious condition. Two other children were received minor injuries.

As friends and family of the victims struggle to understand why it happened, they're requesting prayers, as are the first responders who helped at the scene.

"Whether it be a bad call or a pediatric call, it always makes it difficult because you're always asking questions that you never get the answer for," said Adam Trabold, a paramedic for Conemaugh Township EMS.

Nearly 24 hours after the crash Monday afternoon, Trabold is still struggling with what he saw.

"I've had several others that I've been on that have been fatalities, but this one was one of the worst ones," Trabold said.

Trabold was one of the dozens of EMS, firefighters and police on the scene for nearly five hours dealing with the tragic loss of the young children, and major injuries to their pregnant mother and her boyfriend.

Conemaugh Township Police Chief Louis Barclay said they weren't able to talk with the adult passengers because of their injuries, making it extremely difficult to identify the victims.

It wasn't until Tuesday afternoon police identified the two girls as Ryleigh Freiwald, 8, and Macayla Freiwald, 6. Their mother, Ashley Lichty, 26, and her boyfriend, Jason Himebaugh, 36, are still in serious condition. Two other young girls suffered minor injuries.

"It was the worst I've ever seen. Not only myself, plus my officers, and the EMS personnel and fire," Barclay said. "I thought they did an excellent job."

It’s a scene that's engraved in the minds of those who saw it, but a scene Trabold said won't and can't prevent his co-workers from doing their job.

"You still have to get up, and go to work and do it because if everyone said, 'I'm done,' who would make that call," asked Trabold. "Who's going to come out and help whenever it's your family, your brother, your sister, your mother or dad?"

Conemaugh Township EMS will host a meeting Thursday at 7 p.m. for all the first responders who helped at the accident. The meeting will include a special critical incident stress team to help first responders to cope and talk about what they saw.

Police identify victims after Monday's fatal crash

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times