Mother of addict calls crash ‘divine intervention’

Published: Aug. 24, 2016 at 6:23 PM EDT
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WAYNE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Rhonda Combs is thankful and optimistic that the funeral she feared is no longer needed.

She’s the mother of the Chad Fry, the man who slammed his car into a tree Friday afternoon. Paramedics had to revive both Fry and his wife Betty with Narcan as both had overdosed.

“You plan their funeral when they're on this stuff,” she said.

Combs said the drug problems with her son go back about a decade, starting when he was prescribed pain pills after a back injury.

“I know this is God's intervention," she said.

That's not usually the way someone describes a car crash with her son driving and her granddaughter in the back seat.

But with her granddaughter telling her, "I think my daddy died a little bit," Combs knows it could have been worse.

"This is the intervention I've been praying for,” she said. “It isn't exactly what I would have wanted, but you got to watch what you pray for."

Combs has had a rocky relationship with her son since his drug addiction began. What started with pain pills, at some point led to heroin.

She and her husband had to set boundaries: no borrowing money, no living on family property, a whole lot of no answers.

"That's really hard to do when you have your two grandchildren involved in that and you can't fix everything for them," Combs said.

At one point last year, she even filed criminal charges against her son for stealing.

She thought things were looking up in April when he married Betty. The two had been together seven years and had two kids together. But the optimism was short-lived.

For the last three months, Combs cut them off, except for the occasional short excursion with the grandkids.

"It's very stressful, frustrating, heartbreaking," she said.

She says parents don't come prepared naturally to deal with drug addiction.

She advises other to set boundaries. Don't be an enabler, even if it takes filing criminal charges. Know the signs of addiction: not keeping a job, moving around a lot, always blaming others for why, not having basic utilities or groceries, money missing around the house.

So she sees Friday's crash not a curse, but a blessing.

"It's got to get better because if this is not their rock bottom, I don't know what it would be," Combs said.

With son and daughter-in-law checking themselves into rehab Saturday and grandkids no longer waking up in tears at night, Combs says Tuesday night was the first night she slept well in months.

"That's because they are all safe now. I know there they all are,” she said.

Both grandkids are staying with their grandmother for now.

We can't show their faces, but we can tell you the girl is doing great and her eye injury is healing up well.

Combs is also thankful her son hit a tree, not someone else and so grateful to the stranger who stopped and helped.

She says both her son and daughter-in-law are scared and seem ready to get help for the first time.

They both face arrest warrants on charges of child neglect resulting injury.