Calhoun Community Grieving Loss of Mother, Two Children

CALHOUN, La. (KTVE/KARD) -- A mother and her two little boys are dead after a car accident Monday night in Calhoun.

As the sheriff's office investigates, a community is grieving.

"It's really touched everybody," said Cindy Williams, a counselor at one of the boy's schools.

The Ouachita Parish Sheriff's office said it happened around 8 p.m. Monday night on the 200 block of Richardson Road. Officials said as the car the family was traveling in came over a steep hill in Calhoun, the driver, 48-year old Rebecca Potts, lost control.

"Traveled about 140 yards until it hit a tree head on. It traveled about another 28 yards and side impacted another tree," said Sheriff Jay Russell.

The impact was so great, it ejected the engine.

Three passengers, Potts' 29 year old daughter, Amber, and two grandchildren -- 9-year old Hunter and 11-year old Layton -- were pronounced dead at the scene.

Potts was taken to the hospital -- officials said she is expected to recover. Sheriff Russell says toxicology samples are pending, but there were no signs of alcohol or illegal drugs in the crash.

"It was a very steep hill, so we think speed may have played a factor in this," said Sheriff Russell.

Meanwhile, grief counselors are helping students at the boys' schools -- Central Elementary School and Calhoun Middle School.

"Unfortunately when you have 20,000 students, you see things like this every year," said Dr. Bob Webber, superintendent of Ouachita Parish Schools. "You hate it and it's very tragic, but I think our staff has done a great job trying to help the students."

"It's been rough today, everybody is in shock," said Williams.

School officials say they were sweet, polite, and funny boys. Layton loved art and football.

"He always had a smile on his face, always. He was a very loving, he was good to everybody, he liked to include everybody," said Williams.

Layton had just attended a valentines dance last Friday.

"he wore a tux, and he had a great time, he danced all night," said Williams.

Williams said parents should answer their children honestly in this time of grieving.

"Explain to them that it's okay to feel, it's OK to cry, it's OK not to cry," she said. "Answer them honestly. to just be there for them, to give them a hug. And that's what we've done today, is just be out at lunch time and classes to just help them through it."

School officials say although this family was taken much too soon, they hope loved ones will find comfort.

"We just hope that there are a lot of prayers going up for them, we as a school system are family, and we are praying for them," said Dr. Webber. "We believe God will give them some comfort."

If you would like to donate to the family to help cover costs, a bank account has been set up at all Progressive Banks under Potts/Patton.

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