San Diego

‘Please God, Don't Let It Be Them': Camp Pendleton Marine Family's Tragic Crash

 It wasn’t long ago that Staff Sergeant Evaan Ball and his wife Ashley attended the Marine Corps Ball in San Diego, but today it feels like a world away as Ashley fights for her life in a New Mexico hospital after a deadly crash that killed her brother.

“I thought I’d be the one in the hospital one day, not her,” SSgt. Ball told NBC 7 San Diego in a phone interview this week.

Ashley’s brother, Steven Marrow, was helping the couple move from Camp Pendleton to SSgt. Ball’s new post in Louisiana on Dec. 23. Ball drove one car, with the couple’s two children in the back. Marrow drove the second car with Ashley sitting in the passenger seat.

As the group drove down State Route 550 in Farmington, New Mexico, Marrow lost control of the car while passing a truck and crossed over the divide, crashing into an oncoming tractor-trailer, Ball told NBC7. Ball was driving ahead of his wife and her brother and had successfully passed the truck. He said he believes Marrow’s car slid on the dangerous ice and “caused them to move a little clockwise and slide over into oncoming traffic.”

Ball’s first thought as he turned around to face the wreck was, “please God, don't let it be them.”

Marine Family New Mexico Car Crash 0103 2016
Evaan Ball
A Marine, his wife, their two sons and his brother-in-law were involved in a tragic, deadly crash in New Mexico. This is the car Ashley and Steven were driving, seen after the crash.

But as he turned around, he said, it was obvious Ashley and Steven were the victims.

“I got a little closer and saw my backpack on the ground, and all kinds of our stuff, everywhere, and some first responders got there really quick,” he said.

Marrow died at the scene. Ashley was taken to San Juan Regional Medical Center in Farmington, New Mexico. Ashley is in critical condition and has undergone multiple surgeries following the deadly crash. She has a traumatic brain injury and severe internal injuries, Ball said.

Ball has been taken by grief as he waits by his wife’s side in the hospital and mourns his brother-in-law, who he said was a wonderful person.

“He was a really awesome guy,” Ball said. “I mean, he was full of energy, you know, he always kind of lit up the room.”

marine family photos new mexico crash 0103 2016
Evaan Ball
Evaan, his two kids and Steven.

Marrow had moved to Oceanside to live with his sister and two nephews while Ball served his country in the Marine Corps and deployed to Afghanistan. He was a great help with the boys, ages 6 and 10.

“Steve was a real selfless guy,” he said.

His wife, in critical condition as of Saturday night, is a rock for the family.

camp pendleton marine family new mexico crash 2 0103 2016
Courtesy of Evaan Ball
A photo of Evaan, Ashley, their two kids and Stephen, courtesy of the family.

“During deployments I was gone for the entire time, obviously for anywhere from six months to a year, and every time, no hiccups; she made everything happen and the boys never missed out on anything except for time with me,” Ball said.

Ball said the people of Farmington have warmed his heart in the midst of such personal tragedy.

One of the officers who first arrived on scene later took him and his boys in for Christmas. The surgeon operating on his wife let his family stay in their home. One community member offered the family a cabin to sleep in.

“All the support in San Juan County and the people of Farmington has been amazing,” said Ball.

The family is staying at that cabin as the Marine, his two boys and mother-in-law wait to see if his wife’s condition will improve. The family has set up a GoFundMe to help pay for Marrow’s funeral expenses and any of Ashley’s medical expenses that may not be covered by insurance. You can find the link by clicking here.

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