4-year-old boy recovering after Placer County freight train crash killed his mother

Lincoln Police Department

A 4-year-old boy was recovering in a hospital after suffering serious injuries in a crash in which a freight train struck a vehicle driven by his mother earlier this week in Placer County. His mother died in the crash, a family member said.

The crash occurred about 5:30 p.m. Monday in Lincoln when the Union Pacific Railroad train struck the vehicle near the intersection of Lincoln Boulevard and Ferrari Ranch Road.

The boy’s mother, Ashlee Rhodes, did not survive the crash, said Bryan Nunes, a relative who created a Gofundme online fundraiser for medical bills and other costs incurred as a result of the crash. He said Rhodes left behind a husband and two children.

Her son, Easton, suffered serious injuries including two broken femurs, lung contusions and a partially collapsed lung. Nunes said the boy’s father, Travis Nunes, was with his son at the hospital along with other family members.

Fox 40 first reported about the boy’s recovery and the online fundraiser Thursday afternoon. In an update posted on the Gofundme page, Nunes wrote that boy’s recovery had made more progress with him being able to sit in a wheelchair without the chest strap holding him.

“His two broken femurs are still in quite a bit of pain, but everyday he gets a little better and his lungs seem to be healing,” Bryan Nunes wrote. “Thank you to all the donors, from the bottom of our hearts.”

The train was heading north and struck the vehicle that was heading west on Ferrari Ranch, according to a news release from the Lincoln Police Department. The train pushed the vehicle along the railroad tracks and eventually off the tracks in the area of Auburn Ravine.

Authorities found the mother and her son in the vehicle. Despite performing life-saving measures, the mother was pronounced dead at the scene. The boy was taken by ambulance to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento.

“As you might imagine, the families have been on a roller coast ride of emotions to make sense of this horrific and tragic loss,” Bryan Nunes wrote. “Ashlee’s passing has left a significant hole in so many of us that words cannot explain, but she left us with many memories.”