ST. CLOUD, Minn. (WCCO) – The parents who lost their children in a deadly crash on Monday are trying to hold on to the good memories.

The crash happened near St. Cloud when their car went off County Road 75 and landed upside down in the Sauk River.

Lam Le, who was driving, Carrie Ann Richter Ngo and her little brother, Ethan, had been at a family party on Sunday at Lake George in St. Cloud. Le’s car landed on its roof in the river and was filling with water when a Stearns County deputy noticed it.

Rescue workers were able to get two men out of the crash alive. One of them was the father of the children who died.

The lake was a place the Ngo family went for entertainment. But on Wednesday, they were there to reflect on the tragedy that took place in the Sauk River and remember the good times they shared.

“This didn’t have to happen. No one had to die,” Sarah Ngo said.

Sarah and Vin Ngo have gone through every emotion possible, and on Wednesday they went to the place where they found peace and joy in watching 5-year-old Ethan Ngo and 13-year-old Carrie Ann Richter Ngo.

“She was a very happy person. On her Facebook page, everyone was posting that,” Sarah said. “Stuff like ‘Thanks for sharing your smile every day.'”

Her parents said Carrie was a violinist and an athlete. She loved life.

“He was a daddy’s boy, and Dad is king to him,” Vin said.

Ethan loved to make noise, and he loved his sister and mom, while dad was his hero. Both Ethan and Carrie died when the car they were in plunged into the Sauk River, ending upside down. The driver, 19-year-old Lam Le, also died.

“The guy was in the back seat with us trying to light his phone up and somehow the light went dark again,” Vin said. “When I saw the light, I thought there was some hope there to bring me and my boy back safe.”

Vin tried for an hour to find a safe way out of the car. He and fellow survivor Lao Truang took turns holding Ethan up in an air pocket so he could breathe.

“The whole time he was screaming for daddy, daddy, I don’t want to die,” Vin said. “I told him it was okay and I was going to try to get us out.”

Vin woke up at the hospital to learn that his children were gone. Sarah said she is looking to God for help.

“God was calling him home and they’re safe with God and they’ll always be there to surround me every time I need them, and that’s what’s helping me get through this right now,” Sarah said.

The accident is still under investigation, but police do believe alcohol was involved. Ethan turned 5 years old last month, and Carrie would have been 14 on Sunday. They will return to the Sauk River this weekend to release balloons in memory of their children.

Comments (7)
  1. Kevin says:

    Alcohol…..+ 2:00 AM,,,,,+ 5 year old…..+Party…….=car in ditch…..who let these children drive with a drunk driver??????? Is this article serious?

    1. A says:

      so you are telling me you have NEVER, I mean NEVER driven with any children in your car while under the influence. Because you know they did not say he was drunk they said he had been drinking and fatique was involved. No one is perfect. Have a little sympathy this family just lost their children. Don’t you think the dad will be blaming himself for the rest of his life.

  2. mn mom says:

    “This didn’t have to happen. No one had to die,” Sarah Ngo said

    Exactly! WHY did you allow someone who was drunk to transport your children?? I realize that sounds harsh, but those parents had a responsibility to those children and they failed just as badly as the driver.

    Dad was in the car, was he drunk too, why didn’t he drive? Why didn’t they have a safe driver, take a cab, call for a ride, or camp out at the lake?

  3. a says:

    Hello….that is what she is saying. This didn’t have to happen, they didn’t have to die. The why’s and what if’s are not going to bring these children back. I am sure they will be blaming thereselves for the rest of their life. Have a little sympathy for a family who just lost two young children in a horrific accident.

  4. mn mom says:

    My sympathy is for the children who, due to the careless of others, will not be living and experiencing the rest of their lives.

    No, I do not drive under the influence with children in my vehicle, and I have 5 children of my own. Drinking is not that important to me and parents need to set a good example for their children. What do you suppose will happen after a parent preaches to a child just about to get their license that drinking and driving is dangerous and then the child sees mom or dad have a few drinks and drive them home? Yup, now jr. gets the message that no, it isn’t all that bad. There have been WAY too many accidents lately where alcohol has been involved, too many lives lost needlessly.

    My message may be harsh, but I stand behind it. Parents have a responsibility to keep their children safe. There are so many factors in life we cannot control, driving under the influence is not one of them.

  5. Paula Coyle says:

    Parents sometimes make mistakes. Whether it’s having a beer then driving too soon, or letting your kids ride in the back of a pickup truck or climb a tree. One would think the loss of the children is enough grief for anyone who did anything wrong to fix it in the future, but you apparently don’t.

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