‘We’re just tore up’: One son killed, second in critical condition following car crash

Published: Jun. 28, 2022 at 5:31 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 29, 2022 at 9:34 AM CDT
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SYLACAUGA, Ala. (WBRC) - A family in Sylacauga says a car crash has changed their lives forever. The accident killed recent Sylacauga High School graduate, Preston Bowen.

His family said his brother, Tanner, is in critical condition.

Sylacauga City Schools Superintendent Dr. Michele Eller says she cannot imagine what the Bowen family is going through after the car crash took the life of one of their sons and left the other one fighting for his life.

“His dad Robert said ‘I don’t know how to say it otherwise. We’re just tore up,’” Eller said.

The Bowen family said sons Tanner and Preston were traveling along Coleman Bridge Road on Saturday, June 25, 2022, when their vehicle crashed after leaving the roadway. Preston passed away on the scene and Tanner was taken to UAB with critical injuries.

The Bowen family loses one son in a car crash while a second son fights for his life.
The Bowen family loses one son in a car crash while a second son fights for his life.(Sylacauga City Schools)

Dr. Michelle Eller says now the family has the daunting task of planning a funeral and staying at the hospital around the clock as Tanner recovers.

“I can’t even compartmentalize what I need to do for Preston. She said, ‘I can’t leave here.’ They had to finally make her leave yesterday to take a shower,” Eller said.

Dr. Eller says Tanner served in the Army and he came home last weekend to surprise his family, and Saturday night the unexpected happened and changed all of their lives.

“It’s pretty critical. They had to remove half his liver. They have packing in there right now. They need to go in to remove that. He’s had swelling on the brain. He had a stroke the other night. They don’t even know the extent of that. They can’t go in and do what they need to do until some of that swelling comes down. He’s going to have about 9 surgeries,” Eller said.

So far there’s no word on when Preston’s funeral will be. The family is having to stay in Birmingham at a hotel because Tanner’s care is so critical they need to be close by.

Family members have set up a GoFundMe to help cover the costs.

The Bowen family loses one son in a car crash while a second son fights for his life.
The Bowen family loses one son in a car crash while a second son fights for his life.(Sylacauga City Schools)

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