Bighorn Basin Rallies to Support Victims of Tragic Car Crash

Bighorn Basin Rallies to Support Victims of Tragic Car Crash

Written by on February 24, 2022

As Bighorn Basin communities mourn the tragic loss of the Hackenberg siblings, they are coming together to support the two victims who survived the crash.

The Bighorn Basin is experiencing a surge of emotions after a horrific car crash near Powell last week. Yet, the spirit and generosity of communities in the region never cease to be inspiring and consoling.

Last Wednesday, Feb. 16, a 2005 Toyota Corolla was headed east on US 14A when the driver lost control of the vehicle. The vehicle entered the westbound lane colliding with a 2015 Chrysler 200.

Tragically, siblings 17-year-old Peiton, and 15-year-old Phoenix Hackenberg died at the crash scene.

Lovell resident Elliott Wittick and Powell resident Brittney Baldridge were in the Chrysler. They both survived with severe injuries and were taken to Powell Valley Healthcare. Soon after, both were transferred to Billings for further treatment.

Baldridge, the driver, injured her arm and sustained severe bruises on her hip, chest, and shoulder from her seatbelt. Wittick – who was sitting on the passenger side and bore the impact of the crash – fractured his left wrist, three ribs, a pelvis, and both ankles.

Courtesy Powell Tribune

Both Wittick and Baldridge face enormous medical bills and significant time out of work – and the Bighorn Basin wants to ensure they have all the support they need.

An account is open at Big Horn Federal Savings for Wittick and Baldridge. Anyone can make deposits by asking their donation go to either Wittick or Baldridge.

Meanwhile, rallying communities together for a good cause has never been easier, thanks to social media. Several groups have been created to take fundraising to the next level in a more creative way.

Elliot Wittick Updates is posting information on Wittick’s recovery, including the multiple scans and surgeries he has undergone since the crash.

“His family will use this FB page for updates on his healing,” the group’s description reads. “Please feel free to post messages of support for Elliott as well. Thanks so much for the outpouring of support already received for Elliott.”

The last update – posted on Feb. 21 – is from Elliot Wittick himself. He says he is doing physical therapy in preparation for a transfer out of Billings.

 “Help Elliott Wittick and Brittney Baldridge” is an auction group accepting donated items and services.

Donors can post the item or service and its usual price. Members of the public group are encouraged to bid on the items in the post’s comments, and the highest bid wins.

Several items are being donated to raise money: embroidered quilts, baked goods, car wraps, free horse breeding, even a corgi puppy. As of Feb. 20, the group had raised over $13,000.

The auction page for Wittick and Baldridge was created by Terri Popish, a cousin of Peiton and Phoenix Hackenberg.

Hackenberg Family

Courtesy Help the Hackenbergs

There are several opportunities to show and provide support for the Hackenberg Family as they mourn the loss of Peiton and Phoenix.

Another account is still open at Big Horn Federal Savings, accepting donations in the name of Peiton, Phoenix, and the Hackenberg Family. Furthermore, a similar auction group  – Help the Hackenbergs – seeks donations to raise additional financial support.

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