Community says goodbye to victims of fatal Wanblee accident

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It was a somber day for the town of Wanblee, Saturday, as the town had a chance to say goodbye to the five victims of a fatal car accident on Highway 44. 

READ MORE: Six confirmed casualties in Hwy 44 head-on collision

After the viewing, this morning in Pine Ridge, members of multiple county fire departments escorted the bodies back to Wanblee. Ashton Cole Standing Bear, 21, was a member of the Wanblee Volunteer Fire Department and passed in the accident. His casket was delivered back to Wanblee aboard a fire engine from Interior Volunteer Fire Department, while the other caskets followed along in funeral vehicles.

"You know the fire service had a hard hit to it here the last week,” said Chief Cliff McClure. “It was an honor to go to Pine Ridge and bring him back on our engine to show the respect for what he's given as a volunteer and the respect of the volunteers of Wanblee and the fire service."

After the tragic loss of that firefighter, and family members of Wanblee's Fire Chief Jon Siedschlaw, local departments banded together to help their own. This includes the Interior Volunteer Fire Department filling for fire protection for the week following the accident. 

"We got departments all the way from Pennington County, Bennett County, several other counties here. And you will see a lot more of them come Monday When the funeral services are happening"

Ashton was one of five that perished in the accident after their vehicle was struck head on by a semi-truck. The others in the car included Jaceya Cummings, 7, Micah Cummings, 5, Tawni Wilcox, 30, and Devin Conquering Bear. Tawni, Chief Siedschlaw's daughter, was six months pregnant at the time of the accident. The lone survivor of the crash was 16-month old baby boy, son of Tawni. The child was airlifted during the crash with a broken collarbone and a fractured skull, he is in stable condition.

During the funeral service on this coming Monday, the departments will pay their final respects with a second fire truck line as well as an honor guard and a performance from the pipes and drums.

Funeral Services will take place June 5 at 10am at Crazy Horse School in Wanblee.  

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