WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — A Kansas father is celebrating the birth of his son while also grieving his wife’s death.
On Tuesday afternoon, 22-year-old Samantha Russell was the innocent victim killed in a crash following a police pursuit.
Russell was pregnant, and her husband Brandon has since posted photos on Facebook holding his newborn son, Mac. The healthy baby boy was delivered following the crash.
Words cannot explain or express the emotions going through everyone’s head today in light of the events that took place on July 6th 2021 at around 5:30 CST. Sammy was taken from us but left behind the most beautiful gift of life. Samantha was going to be a fantastic mother. She always had everything planned out and ready to go. She was driven and the hardest worker I knew. She always ALWAYS knew what to say when I was going through an issue or needed advice. She was the best person to know. From her bubbly attitude and being all over the place to her knowing when it was couch-thirty and time to watch Netflix. She was an all around good person who did not deserve to die on impact from a reckless driver. She was the best example of what it looks like to be happy. She showed happiness to everyone and anyone that she knew. She will always be my wife and the person I turn to when I need advice or to ask another one of my dumb questions. I love you Samantha Russell. You are everything to me. With all that said I want anyone reading this to take a moment to cherish and love those special people around you while they are here that no one could ever replace because they mean so much to you. You never know what to expect every day. Live everyday to your fullest.”
Brandon Russell, Samantha’s husband
Samantha was a real-estate agent for J-PAR in Wichita.
“She really was all about her family. All about, you know, starting this family with her first kid with her husband here, and you know that was her goal,” said Jordan Wuest, Samantha’s broker and organizer of a GoFundMe account. “She was in a military family constantly moving around, and so she was excited to add some stability to her life.”
Samantha’s legacy is now living on through Mac. Wuest created the GoFundMe account for the family to pay for the funeral, medical, and baby expenses, with the family’s blessing. The account has raised thousands.
“They’re going through a lot, and if there’s a way we can offset some of the expenses for the unexpected and a brand new baby and helping their family in whatever way we can, we want to do that for them,” said Wuest.
(Photos Courtesy: Brandon Russell)
“She was really passionate about working with families relocating to Wichita, military families relocating to Wichita, and you know that was her goal in life to get them established, help them get settled, and it’s awesome to see, through this tragedy, the community is able to help her family now,” said Wuest.
The couple also has a baby registry online.
Wichita police said officers were trying to arrest robbery suspects when one of the suspects, 37-year-old Javan Ervin, took off driving and crashed into several vehicles at an intersection, killing Samantha. Police say the chase was called off before the crash.
Jamie Chavez is also in custody for the nearby robbery.
A spokesperson for the Wichita Police Department declined to do an interview about their policy on pursuits but referred to an online policy that states, “The officer and supervisor should continually assess the risks associated with an emergency response or pursuit (time of day, traffic, and weather conditions and distance to call).” The full policy can be found here.
Brandon released a statement Thursday saying he has been overwhelmed with support.
My entire family and I were not expecting the overwhelming amount of support from all around the country. People who I don’t even know are sending in so many beautiful messages and gifts. When I looked at the GoFundMe this morning I couldn’t believe it. Mac is going to live his best life surrounded by people who love him. He may grow up without his mama but he will definitely know everything there is about her. I can’t express enough thankfulness to anyone who’s shown support in every way. Thank you anyone who has given a donation or bought something on the registry. Mac will be spoiled rotten and we will not have to worry about money for the foreseeable future thanks to family, close friends, and people I don’t even know across the country. Thank you.
Brandon Russell, Samantha’s husband