Five Iowa Children Orphaned After Father Dies in Car Crash Just Months After Losing Their Mother During Childbirth


An online fundraiser has raised more than $250,000 for five children orphaned after their father died Friday during a car crash in icy conditions.

Bazirake Kariya, 30, was driving on Iowa Highway 330 in Marshall County at about 2:05 p.m. Friday when his car was found in a creek, according to a news release from the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office.

Freezing rain late Friday and into the evening hours caused roadways to be covered with ice across Iowa. State Patrol troopers helped 133 motorists and responded to 77 crashes after freezing rain hit central and southern Iowa on Friday.

Kariya was driving to his job at the JBS pork processing plant in Marshalltown when the crash happened, said Eugene Kiruhura, the senior pastor at Urbandale’s Shalom Covenant Church, who said he’d known the family for about a year.

Kiruhura started a GoFundMe fundraiser for Kariya’s five children over the weekend. He said the family moved to the U.S. from the Democratic Republic of the Congo three years ago and moved to Des Moines two years ago. The children’s mother died during childbirth in August.

The children range in age from 4 months old to 10 years old. Their grandparents are now taking care of the family, but one is sick, and neither has a job, food or anywhere to live, Kiruhura said.

His fundraiser set an initial goal of $60,000 to cover funeral expenses and create a fund to help the children.

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SOURCE: Des Moines Register, Philip Joens