January 18, 2006
High winds may have been the cause of a wreck that killed two people on Tuesday. It happened at Telfair Street near 2nd Street in downtown Augusta. Witnesses say the car was heading west when the tree came crashing down. A divorced couple, 39-year-old Rhonda West and 41-year-old Kenneth West were pronounced dead at the scene.
On Wednesday the families of the two people killed in that accident spent the day making funeral arrangements and figuring out what to do next. News 12 spoke with Rhonda West’s parents, who now have her two children to take care of.
The life of a mother and father was taken in seconds yesterday when the oak tree fell. Left behind are a seven-year-old daughter and a 16-year-old son.
It’s an emotional day for Rhonda West’s parents. They lost their daughter Tuesday when a tree fell on her SUV. Around the time of the accident, they were trying to reach her on the phone.
“I kept calling her phone number and I couldn’t get no answer,” said Jack Wheelis, Rhonda’s father.
Then, they saw Rhonda’s Suzuki on the news, under a tree. They drove to the scene and found out their fears were correct.
“It’s rough. It’s so sudden. It’s unexpected,” Jack said.
Rhonda West and her ex-husband Ken West were killed in the freak accident. Though divorced, the two got along. Rhonda was driving Ken home after taking him to cash his check when the tree hit.
“She loved her mom and dad. She loved her kids and there just ain’t nothing she wouldn’t do for any of us,” Jack said.
Now Rhonda’s parents are left with the job of caring for the divorced couple’s 7-year-old daughter Chelsea and 16-year-old son Brandon.
“They’re good kids and we’ll take good care of them,” Jack said.
Rhonda worked in the billing department at University Hospital. Ken was an electrician.