TWIN FALLS • It’s been just more than a week since Kamal Darji’s world fell down around him.
On Aug. 30, the 22-year-old, his two brothers and their parents were driving back from Boise to their home in Twin Falls.
Kamal said he remembered thinking a tire on his car was flat as he drove east on Interstate 84 near Bliss. He was driving in the left lane and pulled off the road to the left, toward the median, and activated his emergency blinkers, he said.
Then — blackness. Another car, a Ford Focus driven by Raymond Kunz, 61, of Colorado Springs, Colo., also traveling east, rear-ended the Darji’s car, sending them into the median while the Ford rolled to the right side of the highway.
When he awoke, Kamal said he remembers seeing an ambulance and called to his mother.
“She was sitting next to me,” he said. “She didn’t respond.”
According to Idaho State Police, Kamal’s mother, Harka, 55, and brother, Nar, 20, died at the scene.
Kamal’s father, Sha, 64, was trapped between the top of the car and the back seat, Kamal said. He suffered a fractured neck and is still sedated and in critical condition at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise. His youngest brother, Khadga, 17, had a fractured left hip and a knee injury and is able to walk with the help of a walker. Kamal had cuts to his head and injured his left hand.
Kunz was also injured and transported to North Canyon Medical Center in Gooding. He has since been released.
The Darji family is originally from Bhutan, but before coming to the United States spent 20 years in a refugee camp in Nepal. Many ethnic Nepalis fled Bhutan after the government led a campaign of discrimination and detainment against them.
Kamal’s older sister and her husband were given the chance to leave the refugee camp and come to Twin Falls. Later Kamal, his brothers and parents joined them on July 14, 2011, followed later by his sister Bhim, 24. After a year in Twin Falls, the group applied for their green cards and on the day of the crash, went to Boise to get fingerprinted — the last step before receiving the cards.
On Sept. 1 a funeral for Harka was held, then on Sept. 2 one for Nar.
Family friend Lok Dargee said some people in the Nepali community were able to contribute to pay for the cremation costs, but Kamal’s and his family’s medical bills are mounting and will be tens of thousands of dollars.
“He needs to take care of the whole family,” Dargee said.
Kamal had car insurance, but hadn’t applied for health insurance at work because of the cost, Dargee said. Now he’s paying rent on both his own family’s apartment and the one next door where his sister lives.
Kamal said he wants to work, but he’s unsure the level of care his father will need when he’s released from the hospital.
“If he needs support I need to be at home for him,” Kamal said. “I need to see the situation.”
It could be months before Kamal’s father is released from the hospital, but it appears he’s slowly beginning to recover.
“It’s hard to predict,” said family friend Chandra Upreti, who is handling communication with police and doctors.
Sha has had multiple surgeries and is still sedated. On Thursday, Upreti said doctors told him they removed Sha’s breathing tube for 10 minutes and he was able to breathe on his own. Doctors then replaced it when he began to struggle, he said.
For now, Kamal said he’s looking for some sense of justice for his family and help finding what direction to go next.
“I can’t do this all myself,” he said. “I need some help.”