The parents of three young Farmington area men killed in a Sunday car crash, called in reporters Thursday afternoon. They spoke about the driver of the car that struck their sons’ vehicle head-on. “You know this young man has consequences for his actions,” Nathan Backstrom said with his wife at his side, “but I can forgive him.”
Standing in front of the house where they have home schooled all five of their children; the Backstroms insisted they are not angry, even as they mourn the sudden loss of their three oldest sons. “Because,” Connie Backstrom said firmly, “I believe that God really knew the number of days that these boys would have, I can't be angry.”
The Backstrom’s sons, 20-year-old Matthew, 17-year-old Jacob and 16-year-old Justin, died when their car was hit just east of Farmington.
Police say the 22-year-old driver of the other car was both legally drunk and talking on a cell phone while trying to pass on the two-lane road.
The tragedy has renewed calls from some lawmakers to limit use of cell phones in moving vehicles. Representative Mindy Greiling of Roseville has publicly hoped the Backstroms would help pass a bill banning hand-held cell phones for Minnesota drivers. The bill failed to get out of the Transportation Committee in the 2004 legislative session.
The father of the dead youths was not inclined to offer his support at this time. “We may have our feelings, but we all talk on cell phones. I have, all the time, as well as in the cars.” His wife agreed. “You know, people have to just wake up,” she said, “and realize that they make choices and there are consequences to those choices and three young men are dead because of some choices that another young man made.”
The Backstroms were flanked by two pastors from their church who praised the dead brothers' deep faith and cheery personalities.
Connie Backstrom shared the last picture taken of Justin and Jacob “play-fighting” with toy swords in the backyard last week. The picture was taken by Matthew.
They found the undeveloped film in the wreckage of the car. Their mother tearfully explained the irony of the photo. “It was so appropriate because this is a sunset and little did he know that, that was the sunset of their lives.” Funeral services for the three Backstrom brothers will be Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Cannon Falls High School.