A father loved spending time with his girls and taking them places. That was what he was doing one October day as he drove them home after a fall festival at church. But on their way, the family of four had an unfortunate accident that proved fatal.
Parents love their children endlessly, wholeheartedly, and with every fiber of their being. Their whole existence revolves around their kids; they can do anything to see them smile. Parenthood is a life-changing experience that’s phenomenally heartwarming.
The wholesome, one-of-a-kind connection parents share with their little ones cannot be put into words; it can only be felt from the heart. The same was true for the father in today’s story. Let’s take you through this family’s extraordinary tale of love, togetherness, and untimely loss.
A Single Father
Stephen Stewart lived in Harrah, Oklahoma, with his three daughters. He was a single parent who tried his best to provide the best life for his little princesses.
Just then, the unthinkable happened, something that nobody saw coming.
Celebrating Special Moments
As a mom and dad to his girls, Stephen did everything for them, from accompanying them to daddy-daughter dances to celebrating life’s special moments.
In 2019, he lost his beloved partner and the mother of his children, Ashley — a loss that shattered him to the core. But since 2020, Stephen and his daughters never forgot to celebrate her birthday or even cut a cake for her.
On September 8, 2022, Stephen shared a birthday post for Ashley, where his three daughters were seen candidly posing with the cake. The caption read, “Happy Birthday. [We] love and miss you.”
When Tragedy Struck
On Saturday, October 8, the Harrah resident took his girls to the annual fall festival at Faith Baptist Church. After attending the event, Stephen decided to head home and pulled his car out of the parking lot. Just then, the unthinkable happened, something that nobody saw coming.
Per the authorities, Stephen’s car veered left soon afterward and hit a tree nearby. Officers said the vehicle landed in a retention pond when he tried to overcorrect.
According to the Harrah Police, the unfortunate incident happened after 6 p.m. at Dobbs Road and Reno. The sources close to the family believe Stephen had something medical happen that led to the accident.
Losing Their Family Sadly, the single-vehicle accident proved fatal and resulted in the deaths of Stewart, 39, and his seven-year-old daughter, Maddelyn Willett. His eleven-year-old twin daughters, Amelia and Alexis Stewart, survived the crash but were injured.
The family said the girls were taken to the OU Medical Center and released the day after the accident. Harrah Police Chief Marty Burns recalled:
“Harrah’s community is hurting tonight. It’s very difficult when anybody’s in an accident especially when there’s fatalities so it’s very difficult for us to deal with (sic).”
Chief Burns said that when the rescue team and police arrived at the scene, they saw the church members taking care of the survivors. Dan Campbell, the church’s pastor, hailed his members’ heroism for running to help Stephen and his daughters.
He shared his deepest condolences and said the church community prayed for the family whose lives would never be the same. Campbell noted that although Stephen and his girls weren’t members of the church, they would never be forgotten. He shared:
“It was just on everybody’s mind. It’s a terrible thing to have happened this close to our church and it just broke everybody’s heart.”
A Tremendous Loss
After the deadly crash, people began leaving flowers and stuffed toys under the damaged tree. The tragic accident broke the hearts of the community members, who couldn’t help but feel for the twin girls who had lost their dad and little sister on the same day. Stewart’s sister, Tracey Morrison, expressed:
“Those two were loved by so many people. We’re going to feel a big loss and big hole in our family. The sisters are going to miss their sister and their Daddy.”
Willett’s school also released a statement on her sad demise that said they were heartbroken to lose a brilliant light in this world.
Supporting the Family
Toni Caldwell set up a GoFundMe account to help the grieving family meet the unexpected expenses in the face of their heartrending tragedy. As of October 12, over $11,000 had been raised, and more donations continue to pour in. Caldwell stated:
“At this time we ask for your continual prayers for this family and the loss they are going through (sic).”
Remembering Two Beautiful Souls
Following the gut-wrenching incident, several loved ones shared tributes for Stephen and his little girl. Jesse Strange said he was crushed to hear of his dear friend’s death, as he was like a brother to him. He mentioned:
“From late club nights, to cookouts, board games, video games, cookouts, and random restaurant adventures… the world is darker now having lost you and your beautiful little girl.”
Another friend of Stephen’s, Heather Marie Vanarsdall, expressed:
“thank you for being a part of my life you were a great father and friend and like a brother to me (sic).”
Our hearts are filled with sheer grief, especially for the twin girls, who would never be able to have a daddy-daughter dance again or play with their little sister. Please keep this family in your heartfelt prayers.