MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

July 19, 2013

Funds to aid family after mom’s death

Community offers support in wake of fatal collision

By Wendy Burton
Phoenix Staff Writer

— Local response to the death of a pregnant mother-of-two has awed police officers, a Muskogee Police Department spokesman said.

And fundraising is ongoing to help Crystal Franklin’s children and family get through the loss of the 28-year-old mother who died in a head-on collision, said Police Cpl. Michael Mahan.

Mahan was one of the first people on the scene of the crash that killed Franklin on Tuesday and injured her 18-month-old and 5-year-old sons.

“It was one of the worst I’ve ever seen in my career,” Mahan said. “She was pregnant and looking forward to the birth of her child, and the fact there were two small children involved... I think anyone would respond to that type of situation and just try to give anything they could to try and help the family.”

While the wreck was awful, the response from “Good Samaritans,” the community and fellow officers has been amazing, he said.

“The community has really come together to show support for this family,” Mahan said. “And the Fraternal Order of Police has stepped up, too. Officers are contacting people and places to get help for this family, and they are getting a good response.”

Mahan said there are several ways the community can help Franklin’s family and young children over the coming weeks.

“The Muskogee Citizens Police Academy Association has set up an account at Armstrong Bank called the Crystal Franklin Funeral Fund,” Mahan said. “You can make donations at any Armstrong Bank and those proceeds go to help pay for the funeral expenses.”

There will be two restaurant fundraisers. From 5 p.m. to close July 30, El Chico’s will donate 10 percent of all sales as long as 100 people sign in saying that they want their money to go to the family’s needs, he said.

And the police department will be selling tickets to an Applebee’s flapjack breakfast, which will be held 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Aug. 3. Tickets will be $7 and can be purchased by contacting Mahan at the police department, (918) 680-3167.

Mahan said officers have been contacting local businesses as well and getting a good response.

Dillard’s donated clothing for the family and for the burial, he said. Walmart and Kmart both donated toys for the children, who have ongoing medical needs after the wreck, Mahan said.

“If anyone wants to donate new toys, they can bring them by the police department, and we’ll make sure these kids get them,” he said.

Kids’ Space also is working with the family, including getting them needed furniture, Mahan said.

Mahan also said several of the bystanders at Tuesday’s wreck were wonderful and should be thanked, though he doesn’t know their names.

One was an off-duty emergency medical technician, who jumped out of his car and went straight to work helping victims of the wreck, he said.

“I don’t even know his name, but he is the real hero in this deal,” Mahan said. “He asked for nothing, no credit.”

Mahan said there were a lot of Good Samaritans there helping with the children.

“There was a lady there that was keeping pressure on a cut on one of the boys, and soothing him,” he said. “Those people stepping up and helping us made a huge difference out there.”

Funeral services for Franklin are scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday in the Kelley Memorial Chapel at Hunn, Black & Merritt Funeral Home in Eufaula.

Reach Wendy Burton at (918) 684-2926 or wburton@muskogeephoenix.com.

You can help



• To help the family of Crystal Franklin with funeral expenses, donations can be made at any Armstrong Bank branch to the “Crystal Franklin Funeral Fund.”

• A fundraiser will be held at El Chico’s on Shawnee Bypass from 5 p.m. to close July 30. If 100 people sign in and say they want their donations to go to the family of Crystal Franklin, the restaurant will donate 10 percent of all sales from the evening for the family’s needs.

• Applebee’s will hold a flapjack fundraiser for the family of Crystal Franklin from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Aug. 3. Tickets will cost $7. Proceeds benefit the family’s needs.

For more information or to purchase tickets for the Applebee’s flapjack breakfast, contact Police Cpl. Michael Mahan, (918) 680-3167.