NewsSoutheast Valley NewsQueen Creek News


Sisters moving forward after deadly wrong-way crash in Holbrook

Posted at 10:17 PM, Dec 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-02 00:17:13-05

More than fives months after a deadly wrong-way crash in Holbrook, Katelynn, and Kaylee Fitch are excited to begin moving forward with their lives. 

"I sometimes even forget that I was broken, honestly," Katelynn told ABC15. 

Friends, loved ones and strangers gathered Saturday at Palobrea Summit in Queen Creek to take part in a fundraiser for the sisters.

Both spent weeks in the hospital -- suffering several broken bones, concussions, and other injuries -- following the June crash involving members of their church group on Interstate 40. For a time, Kaylee was in a medically-induced coma.  

"Knowing that I am able to start school, it's like, exciting because I get to see my friends again," she said. 

In January, Kaylee will resume her senior year at Desert Ridge High School in Mesa. Katelynn, 19, is looking to pursue a college degree in teaching. 

The family set up a GoFundMe page to help with medical expenses. 

Authorities say 72-year-old Craig Allen, from Sun Valley, was driving eastbound in the westbound lanes when he crashed into a passenger van. Both Allen and the driver of the van, 35-year-old Kayleen Candelaria, died in the crash.

Candelaria was part of the group returning to New Season Christian Fellowship in Apache Junction after spending time at a church camp in Oklahoma. Allen also died in the crash. 

A newly released report by the Arizona Department of Public Safety sheds light on what led up to the crash.

According to the report, Allen's neighbor told investigators Allen lived alone and was in poor health and suffered from dementia. That same neighbor told authorities in the days before the crash; he had found Allen in his driveway in a dazed and confused state. The neighbor indicated he worried Allen's mental health was deteriorating. 

ABC15 is working to figure out if Allen was even legally allowed to drive. 

According to toxicology results, Allen also had several substances in his system, including oxycodone.