‘It was just a matter of time’: Lompoc survivor shares the aftermath of her husband’s death
Lompooc, California, February 13, 2019.
A young woman who was a high school volleyball coach, who had a husband who died in a motorcycle accident, had a very long list of responsibilities at the time of his death.
She would coach and teach her volleyball team, and they would play in tournaments at the local high school, where she was a coach, she told ABC News.
“I would have to make sure my wife was out of the house, and the kids were not playing outside.
I’d have to supervise her, and I’d be taking them to the bathroom every two minutes, and sometimes I’d even take them out to dinner,” she said.
The couple would often travel for weeks together, and when the couple was not on the road, they would share a small house.
On February 12, 2019, a train derailed near the small town of Lompoca, California.
At the time, it was still unclear what caused the derailment, but the coroner’s office said the train was traveling at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour.
Three years later, after the death of her brother, her husband was discovered in the train.
They were found by the train’s brakes, and were pronounced dead at the scene.
It took a year for the coroner to formally identify the cause of death, but she ruled the death a suicide, according to the coroner.
In April, a judge found that Lomposoc County Sheriff Bob Kroll had failed to take reasonable care of the couple’s needs during their marriage and should pay them a $2,000 fine, as well as for the emotional distress caused by the loss of their father.
A spokesman for the Lompoing County Sheriff’s Office, Jeff DeGraffenreid, told ABC affiliate KPIX 5 that deputies were aware of the death in the months before it happened, and that they “worked closely with the coroner, who also worked with the county sheriff.”
“It was the duty of deputies to provide for the needs of the deceased family and ensure the safety of everyone on the train,” DeGraffinreid said.
“The Sheriff’s office will cooperate with the investigation into the cause and manner of death.”
The Sheriff also ordered the release of a copy of the suicide note he found on the woman’s husband, who died by suicide.
The family’s attorneys, who filed a lawsuit against Kroll, are planning to argue that Kroll violated his duty to protect the county, as he failed to make a timely decision about the cause.
“This tragedy has exposed the fact that deputies are not above the law, that the law can be enforced and that deputies should be held to the highest standards,” the family’s attorney, Scott Hays, said in a statement to ABC News, adding that he was not surprised that the Sheriff had “failed to act.”
“Our hope is that this tragedy will serve as a wake-up call to all sheriff’s deputies and the county to ensure that they will have the highest level of accountability,” he said.
In a statement posted on the Loposoc Sheriff’s Facebook page, the family said the family is “still grieving over the loss” of their husband, and have appealed for a “tough, fair and compassionate justice system.”