Mom of one of the Barron County rollover crash victims speaks out

Published: Oct. 25, 2022 at 6:42 PM CDT
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BARRON COUNTY, Wis. (WEAU) - It’s been over two weeks since two teenagers died in a rollover crash in Barron County. 15-year-old Winter Brouillard was one of the teenagers who died in the crash. The Barron County Sheriff’s Office said the driver was under the influence of a controlled substance and lost control of the vehicle.

Winter’s mom, Crystal Skidmore, said the last few weeks have been incredibly difficult.

“When you lose a child, they say it’s a pain that you can’t, you won’t know until you experience it,” Skidmore said. “It’s the worst pain you’ve ever felt.”

On October 10th, Skidmore’s daughter was in a rollover crash in Barron County and died a few days later. Evah Garcia also died in the crash. A third girl was taken into the hospital. The driver, a 16-year-old boy, was taken into custody and is being held in the Eau Claire Secure Detention Facility.

“When I found out about the accident, I was in complete shock,” Skidmore said. “I remember running down the stairs, and my legs felt like jello. I opened my mom’s door, I swung it open and said, ‘Winter’s been in an accident.’”

In the weeks following the crash, Skidmore and Winter’s aunt, Emilie Bailkey, said they’ve seen how much of an impact Winter had on the lives of others.

“Everybody that I’ve talked to has told me that when she walked into a room, she just light it up and her smile lit that room up,” Skidmore said. “She had a very big heart. He didn’t want to see anybody hurt or forgotten.”

“She was the most fun girl you could meet. The most kind, precious soul ever,” Bailkey said. “Her laugh was one of a kind. It replays in my head, and I just remember it. I wish I could hear it again.”

Both Skidmore and Bailkey said they take comfort in the signs they believe Winter is sending, like snow during their balloon release.

“It only snowed when we got the balloons and lanterns off, and then when we were done, it stopped,” Skidmore said. “She was born in a snowstorm, and we always called her snowflake. That was her nickname. So, I believe that was a sign of her letting us know that she was there.”

In this difficult time, both Skidmore and Bailkey said they’ll work to make sure she’s not forgotten.

“I know there’s going to be an empty spot until I see her again in my heart, and I just have to move on with my son in the best way possible and keep her memory alive,” Skidmore said.

Skidmore said she wants to thank the community for its support, emphasizing it’s helped her and her family greatly during this time.

As of right now, no charges are filed against the driver in the crash. WEAU reached out to the Barron County District Attorney to see if charges will be filed, but he declined to comment.