ALLEN (CBSDFW.COM) – The community is rallying to support two young people who lost their parents and a brother in a violent car crash on Tuesday.
Rebecca Stryker, 60, and her husband James Stryker, 56, died in a crash on a remote stretch of Highway 89 near the town of Page, Arizona. One of their two sons, Travis Stryker, 16, also died.
Travis’s twin brother, Austin Stryker, was in the vehicle and survived the crash.
According to Officer Carrick Cook with the Arizona Department of Public Safety, a 38-year-old woman named Charlotte Ramos, from the US Virgin Islands was driving on the highway when she crossed the center lane.
Investigators say the woman hit one vehicle, and then the Stryker’s Dodge van, in a head-on collision. Officer Cook says a toxicology test is pending for Ramos. Troopers say the Strykers were all wearing seatbelts.
Austin Stryker was taken to a hospital where he is in stable condition, recovering from injuries. Austin’s sister, Stephanie, a student at Texas A&M, flew to Arizona with a relative on Wednesday to be with her brother.
Austin and Travis are members of the Dallas Penguins hockey team, part of the Dallas Junior Hockey Association.
On the ice at the Dr. Pepper Star Center in Plano, Head Coach Jeff Mewett spoke of the twins’ talents.
“Both Austin and Travis loved being at the rink. They loved playing hockey. It doesn’t matter what the role is, they love being a part of the team,” Mewett said.
The Penguins are to compete in the Silver Stick Western Hockey Tournament in Las Vegas on Thanksgiving Day.
While most of the team planned to fly, the Strykers made a road trip, stopping to camp at the Grand Canyon on the way.
Mewett remembers getting the phone call from Austin, not long after the crash.
“I didn’t have the words. I had him first tell me again, because I thought I’d misunderstood him,” said Mewett.
“The [Stryker family] was very involved. They were always at the rink for practice, for games. Very supportive and just great people to have around,” said Mewett.
Now the team plans to continue on to the tournament, where they’ll wear #8 stickers on their helmets for Travis.
Outside of being with your family, this is the closest group of people that you have. The 20 players are like family,” Mewett said.
Wednesday at the Stryker family home in Allen, dozens of friends of the family gathered. Several were busy decorating the house for the holidays.
A friend says Rebecca Stryker started decorating before going out of town; her friends wanted to finish the work for her.
“Whenever you had a bad day, intentionally or unintentionally, Travis would make it better,” says Krishant Dania, a friend of Travis.
Other friends spoke of the warmth of the parents.
“They were some of the best people you could ever meet. His mother always made me feel so welcome and his dad was so kind,” said Rachel McCullough, a friend of Austin.
Travis and Austin attended Allen High School.
Parker Saxon is a long time friend.
“I’ve heard the quote that God gives his toughest battles to his toughest soldiers. I think that applies here because Austin’s one of the toughest guys I know,” said Saxon.
Saturday a vigil is planned at the Lowery Freshman Center at 8:30 a.m., before the football team departs for a game in Waco.
The Allen Eagles hockey team, has a game a week from Thursday, and students plan to wear #18 (Travis’s school team number) in their classmate’s honor.
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