Leavenworth County family shares grief and memories after mother, son killed in crash

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LANSING, Kan. – One local family is sharing their grief and memories after a mother and son were killed Tuesday afternoon in a one-vehicle crash in Leavenworth County.

Sixteen-month-old Jax Wolter is too young to realize his mom and brother are gone. Pictures may be the only memory he will have of them.

SaraKay Bernard, 36, and her partnerJess Wolter have four boys. One of them, 19-year-old Caleb Crow, was with Bernard when the Kansas Highway Patrol said she went off the road near K-5 and Marxen Road, overcorrected across the middle lane, then lost control and crashed into a tree.

“She was everything to us. She kept us all together,” Wolter said. “She was everything to us. She kept us all together.”

Wolter said she knew something was wrong Tuesday when neither were answering their phones.

“Three state troopers pulled up, and I knew right then and there it wasn’t good,” Wolter said.

Bernard also leaves behind a 17-year-old son.

“And they just said my brother and mom passed away,” Dalton Serda said. “I didn’t even believe it at all. I didn’t want to.”

The family said Bernard was crafty. Like finding a Little Tyke car on the side of the road and decorating it for Jax’s deer hunter costume.

"There could be an empty bucket on the side of the road and SaraKay would say like, ‘I could make something out of that,”’ Wolter said. “She was just so goofy. I instantly fell in love with her.”

It was a day of celebration turned tragic Tuesday. The day the two were killed was Bernard and her partner’s two-year anniversary. Wolter remembers going mushroom hunting on their first date.

“She found a rock that looks like a heart. She is like it is a sign,” Wolter said. “Yesterday I was eating popcorn shrimp, and I found a heart shaped shrimp and I sent the picture and she sent me the googly eyes and all that.”

The Kansas Highway Patrol is still investigating what caused Bernard to lose control. They say the two died instantly. They were both wearing seat belts.

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