The story is sad and tragic and hard to grasp.

"It was a family moment — mom and dad in the front seat, three young sons tucked in the back eating McDonald's goodies. The Indiana family was heading to grandma's house in Chicago on Thursday evening, driving beneath snowy skies.

Six-year-old Joshua Woods was singing his favorite song, Bruce Springsteen's "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town." He loved The Boss, just like his daddy. As the family passed the northwest corner of Midway Airport, they took delight in the big airplane roaring toward the end of the runway. The plane was taking off — or so it appeared to the father, Leroy Woods, who told the story to family friend and lawyer Ronald Stearney Sr.

In an instant, Leroy Woods knew he was wrong.

The Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 smashed through a steel runway barrier, its great bulk plowing out onto 55th Street and crushing the Woods' white Pontiac Bonneville.

With one of the jet's turbines screaming in his ears, Leroy Woods tried to open his door, but couldn't. So he crawled out of the driver's side window. He plucked one son to safety. He could see his wife, Lisa, and their youngest son, Matthew, 2, strapped into the child seat.

But he couldn't see Joshua.

As passers-by ran to the chaotic scene, a bloodied Leroy Woods yelled: "Help! Help! My kids are pinned in there. I gotta get them out!"

But Joshua didn't make it. An autopsy showed he had suffocated."

...A fund has been established for donations to the family in memory of Joshua. Donors should write a check to "Joshua Woods benefit" and mail it to Centier Bank, 1276 N. Main St., Crown Point, IN 46307. Call the bank at (219) 663-7804 for more information.

There is not much more to say. Write a check, send it in, but also a note or letter of support and condolence.

More words and thoughts at Michelle Malkin, AJ Strata


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