Sister shares story of other victim in firefighter's family crash

HUNTSVILLE, TX (KTRK) -- The crash that injured the wife and son of a volunteer firefighter who responded had another victim, and his family wants his story told.

Stanley James of Riverside was in the same horrific accident that injured Amber Van Riper and her 7-year-old son, Jonathan. The headline for days was that Aaron Van Riper, the assistant fire chief for the Thomas Lake Volunteer Fire Department, responded to find the victims were his own family.

"My family and my wife was laying on the ground and the look of the car, I don't know how either one of them lived," Aaron Van Riper told Eyewitness News on June 8th.

A visit from the Houston Texans' JJ Watt and thousands of dollars in donations would follow, including one believed to be from superstar singer Taylor Swift. The Van Ripers were overjoyed.

"I was almost in tears," Van Riper said Thursday.

While Jeanie Schuster was sad.

"It just hurt me so bad that his name wasn't even mentioned," said Schuster, James' older sister.

James had just dropped off groceries at their 80-year-old mother's house, an errand he often did. His two dogs were on his lap when his truck was struck. The crash happened on FM 980 near Riverside in Walker County. Schuster said her brother didn't even have time to brake. His injuries include broken heals, ribs and hips. The two dogs died on impact. Dee, a rat terrier he had for 17 years, was like family.

James, already disabled after three previous back surgeries has a long recovery ahead of him. His sister just wants his name included in the tragedy.

"The little boy, I'm so glad he's home and I'm glad she's in recovery and I've prayed for her ever since all three of them was in together. I don't want to put the blame on anyone but I would like for them to understand Stanley was in this, too," added Schuster.

State Troopers responded to the crash, but haven't completed their investigation including who was at fault for the accident.
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