Rogers County Family On Long Road To Recovery After DUI Crash

Friday, August 28th 2015, 6:35 pm
By: News On 6

Ronnie Epperly of Rogers County is awaiting sentencing, after pleading guilty to drinking and driving, crashing into a family coming home from school and running from the scene.

It's a story we first brought to you in November. The mother and her two kids seriously injured, the dad a local firefighter and the first responder on the scene.

The crash happened at the intersection of U.S. Highway 169 and Country Road 4050. The Copeland family was headed southbound when Epperly slammed into their car.

Mom Casidee had a fractured knee; 2-year-old Jaycee had two broken legs; and 4-year-old Jayden had a broken eye socket.

Epperly pleaded guilty to drinking and driving, leaving the scene of an accident and endangering a 13-year-old child who was in his car.

"I can't imagine being able to see two kids hurt and just not even wanting to call for help and just leaving," husband and father Josh Copeland said. "I mean what man would do that?"

Copeland also is a firefighter with Northwest Rogers County Fire Protection District, and he was one of the first responders on the scene.

"It's hit me pretty hard, sometimes you know I have trouble sleeping at night you know I've just had some issues with it,” he said.

Cassidee and Josh still are watching their kids heal as life slowly gets back to normal.

Jaycee is now 3 and starting to enjoy life again.

“It's taken 5 months for her to get back to walking normal again,” Cassidee said. “She does pageants now and just rocks it."

As for Jayden, now 5, he's playing soccer and other sports.

“My son's face, it finally healed, but we still don't know if he may have to have another surgery because he still has a lump in his cheek,” Cassidee said. “But we're giving it time to go down before we put him through another dramatic thing."

Especially now that they say the drama is finally over and justice is being served.

"I'm not angry at him, I'm angry at his actions,"  Josh said. "When two kids are hurt and you can leave the scene of an accident without calling for help, I think that's a pretty careless and selfish act."

And it was a careless and selfish act the Copelands say they're moving on from, but the memory of that terrible day never goes away.

“When I'm here I worry a lot more about my wife and kids than I ever have,” Josh said. “But we've gotten through it… we've always pulled through everything. and if anything it's made us stronger."

Epperly's sentencing has been set for November.