Clare Myers, Staff Writer
The University of Dallas community gathered in support of the Lewis family after a car accident Tuesday morning claimed the lives of two of their young children. Olivia, age six, and Emma, age three, died of injuries sustained in the highway crash in Fremont County, Wyoming.
Their mother, Rebecca Horvath Lewis, was driving the family’s SUV when she lost control of the vehicle on the snowy roads and spun into oncoming traffic. The SUV was broadsided by a truck driving in the opposite direction, according to local police. Rebecca was unharmed, and three people in the truck were released from the hospital after being treated.
Olivia and Emma are survived by their parents, Sean and Rebecca, and their middle sister, Vivian. Friends were quick to come to the family’s aid in the wake of the tragedy.
Both Sean and Rebecca are UD alumni, and Sean currently teaches at Wyoming Catholic College (WCC) in Lander. Members of both communities reached out in the days following the accident.
In a statement, WCC President Kevin Roberts said, “Our hearts are breaking for Sean, for his wife, Becca, for Olivia and Emma’s sister, Vivian, and for the many, many friends and family who have been touched by these young lives.”
Friends set up fundraising campaigns online to help defray the medical expenses and the cost of the funeral.
“This money will allow them to worry less about finances in the coming months,” reads the description of the Sean and Becca Lewis Fund on GiveForward.com. “We can also give them the gift of some time and resources to grieve.” As of this past weekend, over $135,000 had been donated on GiveForward.com alone. The campaign is still open.
The UD community joined in the national show of support with a prayer vigil and rosary Friday night at the Church of the Incarnation. The candlelight vigil was organized by three of Sean’s classmates. It was led by Father Joseph Van House of the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Dallas, another classmate. According to Van House, about 40 people, a mixture of classmates, professors and students, attended the vigil.
“Everyone simply had the deep sense that we had to get together in faith to pray,” he said. “The UD community is a strong and living part of the Body of Christ.”
According to Van House, the family is comforted by the knowledge “that their daughters are with God in heaven.” Sean responded to the outpouring of support in writing.
“Thank you; thank you; thank you for all of your love, generosity and support,” he wrote, adding that Vivian is doing well.
Friends of the Lewises ask for continued prayers as the family grieves.