Bartlett family searches for 'new normal' after fatal crash - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Bartlett family searches for 'new normal' after fatal crash

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

It was a phone call Dave Bartlett never wanted to get.

"She says, 'There's been an accident, I'm OK, Kaia might be OK and the three others didn't survive," said Bartlett. "And I couldn't take that in my mind. So I said, 'Erin, I think I just heard you say Ben, Charlie and Bailey are dead,' and she said, 'Yes, Dave.'"

In June, the Bartlett family was vacationing in Florida when their SUV was hit by a driver, whose pick-up hydroplaned when he tried to change lanes.

Ben Bartlett, his son Charlie, and daughter Bailey were killed in a crash. Ben's wife Erin and youngest daughter Kaia survived.

Dave, Ben's father, says he and his wife drove 20 agonizing hours to get to Erin and Kaia in the hospital. They then immediately had to work on getting three caskets flown back to Iowa.

 "A lot of it, we're in shock," Dave Bartlett said. "We're praying, people are are helping us, but we're really in shock."

There's still shock and sadness months later, including the first day of school. Instead of 8-year-old Kaia walking to school with her brother and sister, on Monday she walked there with her cousins.

"It will be a new normal," said Dave Bartlett. "We will always -- as a family we've talked about this a lot -- we will always now live with some sadness, but we can still have joys."

And that's what Dave hopes people understand: While there is sadness, there is overwhelming good out of this tragedy too.

The Bartlett family has received so much love and help during this tough time, he said.

As a senior leader at Orchard Hill Church, Dave is a man who is often looked to for advise during tough situations. This time, the tables have turned.

"Have you questioned why God would allow this? And I really haven't, because I've understood for a long time -- and Ben understood too -- that God is God, and he allows for things that we won't understand this side of Heaven," said Dave Bartlett.     

This Sunday, Dave Bartlett will be sharing his story at a worship at Gallagher-Bluedorm Performing Arts Center on the University of Northern Iowa campus.

It's titled, "When Storms Come" and will be held at 9:15 and 10:45 a.m. Sunday. It is open to the public.

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