Community Shows Love and Support for Family Ladera Ranch Mourns the Loss Of Kyle, Emma, and Katie Coble
by Jim Schmitt A lot has transpired since Lori and Chris Coble suffered an unthinkable tragedy losing their three children -- Kyle, 5, Emma, 4, and Katie, 2, -- in a horrific traffic accident on the I-5 Freeway on Friday, May 4. And, even though residents have gone on with their everyday lives, the community remains gripped by this devastating loss. The story began to unfold when a tractor-trailer rig plowed into the rear of the Coble’s Chrysler Town & Country minivan. The rig was traveling 55-60 mph and the driver, Jorge Miguel Romero, 37, of Apple Valley, said he couldn’t stop in time. Efforts to save the children, all of whom had been strapped in their child car seats at the time of the accident, failed. Lori Coble, who was driving the family car, and the children’s grandmother, Cynthia Maestri, were treated at Western Medical Center and released the following week. As word of the accident swept through the community, a groundswell of love and support for the parents, Chris and Lori Coble, took hold as the community looked for ways to deal with this unimaginable tragedy. Colorful ribbons in memory of the children were tied on trees in the family’s neighborhood. For the next week, discussion of the tragic loss was all people talked about as residents organized events to help the Coble family and find ways to deal with their own grief. The following is a summary: v The day after the accident, over 100 residents held a candlelight service in front of the house. v A memorial fund was established at Washington Mutual Bank. Donations can be made at any Washington Mutual branch, or mailed to Washington Mutual, 25692 Crown Valley Parkway, Suite J2, Ladera Ranch 92694. Checks are to be made out to “James Maestri FBO Coble Family Account 3951107470.” v An online memorial with family photos, a video, and a guestbook was set up at www.lifetomotion.com. v Hundreds of volunteers worked for days tying pink and blue ribbons and balloons to trees throughout the community. A truckload of ribbons were donated by area merchants, including Ladera Cyclery, Juice It Up!, Exotic Custom Creationz, Canopy Alley, and Toy Town. Volunteers staffed booths distributing the free ribbons. Stacie Brown, of Ladera Ranch, is shown left tying ribbons on trees along Sienna Parkway. “I just had to do something to show my support for the Coble family,” Stacie told the Ladera Times while fighting back tears as she spoke. v Donation boxes sprang up all over and businesses, including Juice It Up!, Cosmos Las Flores, JoJo’s Pizza, Maggie Moo’s, Rubio’s, Organized by Tutor Time, Infusion, Lamppost Pizza, Z Pizza, All DayDin-In, Pacific Whey, Newport Rib Company, TOGO’S, held fundraisers for the Coble Family Memorial Fund. v Friday evening, May 11, exactly one week to the day since the accident, thousands of residents gathered in the Town Green for a Candlelight Vigil (see cover photo above right). Friends and neighbors spoke to the grief-stricken gathering that melted into weeping sobs when pink and blue balloons were released into the air to symbolize releasing the children to the heavens (photo on the right). The crowd was stunned, however, when, to every-one’s surprise, the parents of the children stepped to the microphone to thank the residents of Ladera Ranch for the outpouring of love and support that began shortly after word of the accident swept through the community. The Cobles are shown left comforting each other after addressing the gathering. The nonstop weeklong memorial came to an end on Saturday, May 12, when an overflow crowd packed Presbyterian Church of the Master in Mission Viejo to participate in a funeral service. Presided over by Pastor Jack Loo, the service included a touching homily by Reverend Robert Coble, the children’s grandfather, followed by comments by the children’s parents, Chris and Lori Coble, who again thanked everyone for their support and then told stories about the children, sometimes evoking laughter among the gathering, but mostly tears. Following the church service, many of those in attendance motorcaded by police escort to El Toro Memorial Park in Lake Forest, for a gravesite service and reception.
Editor's Note: Lori and Chris Coble asked the Ladera Times to issued the following statement on their behalf: “We wanted to thank everyone for their outpouring of love and support over the past three weeks. We also want to thank the businesses of Ladera and surrounding areas for all the fundraising activities they’ve promoted. Ladera Ranch is truly an amazing community, and we feel blessed to live here. We will not be leaving Ladera. Thank you again for just being there for us during this horrible time in our lives. We love you.” Lori and Chris Coble