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Vigil planned for Manvel family killed in Thanksgiving day car crash

A vigil will be held Wednesday evening in Manvel for a family killed in a car crash in Montana on Thanksgiving Day. The Dean family, including Chelsi and Anthony Dean and their daughters Avri, 1, and Kaytlin, 5, were traveling from Caldwell, Idah...

From top left, Chelsi and Anthony Dean, along with their children Kaytlin and Avri, all of Grand Forks County, went missing this week while driving through Montana. They were driving a 2018 Toyota Forerunner with a trailer. Submitted photos
From top left, Chelsi and Anthony Dean, along with their children Kaytlin and Avri, all of Grand Forks County, went missing this week while driving through Montana. They were driving a 2018 Toyota Forerunner with a trailer. Submitted photos

A vigil will be held Wednesday evening in Manvel for a family killed in a car crash in Montana on Thanksgiving Day.

The Dean family, including Chelsi and Anthony Dean and their daughters Avri, 1, and Kaytlin, 5, were traveling from Caldwell, Idaho, to Ekalaka, Mont., on Thanksgiving for dinner that evening, but the family never made it. The family died in a car crash Thanksgiving morning near Billings, Mont.

Briana Theisen Bohm and Katie Osowski, both Manvel natives, are putting together a candlelight vigil to honor the family.

The memorial will begin at 7:45 p.m. Wednesday at St. Timothy's Catholic Church in Manvel. The service is non-denominational and all are welcome to attend.

The Dean family was new to the area, Osowski said. The family had enrolled Kaytlin in kindergarten in Manvel and Kaytlin was also involved in Manvel's youth hockey program.

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"They had just started planting their roots," Osowski said.

Osowski said she and Bohm felt as mothers it was their "duty to recognize this mother and her family and remember them" for their children.

Osowski said they have been in contact with Anthony's mother, who lives in Idaho, to let the Deans' extended family know that the community of Manvel is there for support.

"I didn't know the family, but my children did, and I know that they're struggling, so think that as moms that we need to jump in and show the support," she said.

Bohm said she and her husband were "struggling" with how to tell their 5-year-old daughter that her friend and her friend's family died in a car accident. She said the impact of the loss isn't even fully realized yet for the community and the kids.

According to the Montana Highway Patrol, the family was driving a Toyota Forerunner east on Interstate 94 around 7 a.m. when the vehicle went off the road and crashed into a median about 13 miles east of Billings, Mont. The vehicle traveled down the median before going airborne and hitting a concrete bridge support. The vehicle landed in a creek. The family was also pulling another vehicle on a flatbed trailer behind the Forerunner.

The crash site wasn't located until Friday evening.

All four of the family members died in the crash.

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Manvel fire chief Steve Schumer said although Chelsi was only a part of the fire department for about a month and a half, she was always "outgoing" and wanting to learn.

"She always wanted to be like her dad. Her dad was a firefighter," Schumer said.

Schumer said the loss of the family has been a "shock" for the community, especially for those closest to them.

"People are shocked. They can't believe it happened," he said.

Although the family had only been in Manvel for a short time, they were already active in the community, Bohm and Osowski said.

In addition to Chelsi serving with the fire department, Anthony, who was stationed at Grand Forks Air Force Base, helped flood the rink for the start of hockey season.

"I think they would have been a really big blessing to keep in our community," Bohm said. "So, I feel like without even knowing them yet it's still a huge loss."

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