Family of 22-year-old man killed in I-435 crash thanks Good Samaritan

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Melissa Crabaugh’s heart breaks listing her son’s dreams cut short. 

"He was starting a second job, he wanted to be a father in five years, he wanted a wife in five years and he won't ever get to do that," Melissa Crabaugh told 41 Action News.

On Thursday evening, Nicholas Crabaugh, 22, was heading to see his girlfriend in Blue Springs. Traffic on the ramp from southbound I-435 to I-70 east was a standstill when tragedy struck. 

"A person in the vehicle did not stop and slammed right into the back which shoved his car — his Nissan — into an SUV right in front of him basically compacting his vehicle," David Crabaugh, Nicholas’ uncle said.

Moments after, strangers gathered around Nick to help.

“Like a family we hear was standing out of their vehicle standing with their entire group praying for things for Nick they didn't know who he was but they all took the time to step out and do something — one called 911, other people tried to provide any help that they can,” David Crabaugh said.

But one gentleman stood out for his actions.

“For trying to keep him awake — me, his father, his sisters we want to thank you for being able to support him and comfort him the best you could in the last moments that he was around when we couldn't be there to protect him,” Melissa Crabaugh said.

Nicholas Crabaugh died at the hospital but his family will always remember him as the Winnetonka High School graduate who enlisted the National Guard in 2013 and worked as an Apache mechanic.  

As a hobby, Crabaugh loved cars.

“Dragster racing, four-wheeler racing, lately he had been big with his dad in the KC Challenger Club going around and traveling around the Midwest doing car shows for MOPAR he just loved it,” David Crabaugh said.

The Crabaugh’s tell me they don’t harbor feelings of anger toward the driver who crashed into their son but are overwhelmed with frustration. 

“Because you spend your children's lives trying to protect them and take care of them and there was an instance   we — couldn't that anymore,” Melissa Crabaugh said.

Crabaugh’s family members tracked down the Good Samaritan through Facebook. They want the community to recognize him because he stepped in to comfort Crabaugh during his time of need.

Family members are planning a celebration of life for Crabaugh. It’s set to take place next Saturday, Aug. 19, at KC Tint Works on North Oak Trafficway.

A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help with funeral expenses.

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