Two Snoqualmie police officers have gone above and beyond the call of duty to help one family out in the hardest of times.
In response to a tragic fatal car accident, Snoqualmie officers Scott Bruton and Rick Cary set up a GoFundMe account to help a Moses Lake family. As of April 9, the account has raised $7,415, more than $2,000 past its initial goal of $5,000.
On the evening of April 1, the Helfenstein family was traveling on eastbound Interstate 90 when freezing temperatures and horrible road conditions caused their 2005 Mitsubishi Galant to hit a guardrail and drive into an embankment about 20 feet below.
While the father and his two 3-and 5-year-olds survived the accident, their mother, 27-year-old Alyssa Helfenstein, didn’t. Helfenstein was also carrying their unborn child.
Officers Bruton and Cary were on scene almost immediately.
Bruton said they patrol North Bend and Snoqualmie and use Interstate 90 to get between the two. As they were headed east into North Bend that evening, the weather turned from “pouring down rain to a sheet of white.”
They saw cars “spinning out” and multiple drivers losing control. So, they left the freeway on the next exit and came back around onto the freeway and found the Helfenstein’s Mitsubishi.
Bruton and Cary helped pull the children to safety and put them in their patrol car. Bruton said a man and woman stayed with the children in the vehicle and helped comfort and calm them. Although the officers never got their names, Bruton would like to extend a “thank you” to the couple.
After Cary and Bruton helped the father, they turned their attention to Helfenstein.
“That became our No. 1 priority,” Bruton said.
But they had difficulty finding her, as the car had tipped on its passenger side.
“For me, it was … I just couldn’t believe how much that changed in a heartbeat,” Bruton said of the accident. “Having kids the same age, the kid clutched me carrying up the hill, I couldn’t help but think of my own kids.”
When the officers found out the mother didn’t survive, Bruton said it tore them up.
“Hearing the news she didn’t survive and the baby didn’t survive, I just couldn’t believe it,” he said.
Cary returned to the scene of the accident the next day to retrieve the family’s teddy bears and a diaper bag. He also started the GoFundMe website to raise money for the family.
On the Memorial Fund web page, he wrote, “As father’s ourselves, we were deeply affected emotionally that evening. We are asking for the Snoqualmie Valley Community to help us support the family in their time of need.”
Bruton said they believe the family will need a lot in the next few months and year, so any little bit will help.
To donate to the GoFundMe Alyssa Helfenstein Memorial Fund, visit www.gofundme.com/alyssa-helfenstein-memorial-fund.