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Family remembers victims of fatal crash 

  • Jordan Rivard, 41, of Greenfield, died in a motor vehicle crash in Ohio while traveling for Thanksgiving. His son Landyn, 3, pictured, is recovering with serious injuries. His other son, Jayden, 5, also died in the crash. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • Jayden Rivard, 5, above, and his father, Jordan Rivard, 41, of Greenfield, died in an Ohio motor vehicle crash while traveling for Thanksgiving. Jayden’s younger brother, Landyn, 3, is recovering from serious injuries in a Cincinnati hospital. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • Jordan Rivard, 41, of Greenfield, died in a motor vehicle crash in Ohio while traveling for Thanksgiving. Pictured are his sons, Jayden, 5, left, who also died in the crash, and Landyn, 3, who is recovering from serious injuries. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • Jordan Rivard, 41, of Greenfield, died in a motor vehicle crash in Ohio while traveling for Thanksgiving. Pictured are his sons, Jayden, 5, who also died in the crash, and Landyn, 3, who is recovering from serious injuries. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 12/4/2019 11:48:04 AM

GREENFIELD — Jayden and Landyn loved playing together. They were close in age, always smiling and eager to show off their costumes, or play with water balloons and trucks. Their father, Jordan, was dedicated to their happiness.

Last Tuesday, Nov. 26, Jordan Rivard, 41, and his son, Jayden, 5, of Greenfield, were killed in a two-vehicle accident on Interstate 71 in Turtlecreek Township near Cincinnati, Ohio. Jordan Rivard’s younger son, Landyn, 3, sustained serious injuries in the crash and was taken directly to the hospital by the first responding police officer, who did not wait for an ambulance.

The three were traveling to see family for the Thanksgiving holiday.

According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, a preliminary investigation revealed Jordan Rivard was driving the wrong way, northbound on the southbound lanes of I-71, and crashed  his 2016 Ford Explorer head-on into a 2017 Freightliner. The Freightliner was driven by Mohamed Omar, 31, of Seattle, Washington, who was transported to Bethesda Arrow Springs Hospital in Lebanon, Ohio, and treated for his injuries, police said.

“He was pretty upbeat and loved his friends and loved his kids,” said Duane Rivard, 50, Jordan Rivard’s brother. “He loved the outdoors, loved fishing, especially with Jayden.”

Duane Rivard said his brother and the children moved to Greenfield in the last year, having previously lived in Springfield. Jayden had begun attending kindergarten, and both children went to Sunday school at Grace United Church in Northampton.

The family was devoted to each other, religious and “very energetic,” Duane Rivard said.

Jordan Rivard was also exceptional at his job in information technology.

According to his sister, Deneen Popp, Jordan Rivard grew up in the Williamsburg village of Haydenville, “in an old farmhouse full of love with his parents, sister and three brothers.”

He graduated from Hampshire Regional High School in 1996, and then went to Holyoke Community College. For years, he worked at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield as a senior applications analyst.

“Jordan had a knack for figuring out how things worked,” Popp said. “He worked on everything from computers to cars. Jordan was a devoted father in every way. In his free time, he would take his boys fishing, swimming or to the park.”

Jayden attended kindergarten at Newton School in Greenfield, while the younger child, Landyn, stayed home during the day, “entertaining his grandmother,” Popp said.

According to Popp, Landyn is being treated at a Cincinnati hospital, where he has had surgery on his broken femur and was given a temporary breathing machine.

“While he has a long road ahead to recovery, we are pleased to see him improving,” Popp said. “Landyn’s mom, Amanda, has been by his side at the hospital since his arrival.”

Melanie Rivard, Jordan’s sister-in-law and Duane’s wife, said she remembers Jordan Rivard as someone who liked to joke, and that his playful nature was passed on to the children. “He’s always been a very hard worker, both at his job and with his kids. He was a very hands-on dad,” she said. “Landyn was kind of attached to Jordan’s hip. He wanted to care for them.”

Melanie Rivard said she remembers Jayden and Landyn having a blast while throwing water balloons at each other and her children during the summertime.

“With the boys, they really loved playing together. They were close in age, and they loved laughing and being silly together,” Melanie Rivard said.

The Grace United community has been shocked and saddened by the tragedy, and those who may not have known Jordan Rivard probably knew his other family members or saw the children at Sunday school. Although sad, Melanie Rivard said the event has “brought the community together,” and the Rivards have received an outpouring of support, sympathy and prayers.

“It has been very touching,” she said.

Melanie Rivard said Monday that the family was not sure at first if Landyn would survive. However, he is “slowly healing.” In addition to the broken femur, Landyn sustained numerous bone fractures throughout his body, including to his face and spine, and possibly a collapsed lung — CT scans have revealed his brain was “spared from injury,” Melanie Rivard said. Landyn’s breathing tube was removed Sunday, and he is “trying to move more and is increasingly alert.”

“It seems that with time, Landyn will be OK, and we are grateful to God for this,” Melanie Rivard said. “There are lots of unknowns to still figure out and process with the situation.”

She added, “While we pass through ups and downs and feel very weary, we also feel cared for, encouraged and loved by our church family and friends. And God is faithfully upholding us in his strength and love.”

Greenfield Superintendent Jordana Harper said Newton School has counselors onsite to help children deal with grief. Jayden’s death will have been many of his kindergarten classmates’ first experience with loss, and Harper said parents are encouraged to talk to their children about the tragedy. Resources from the National Association of School Psychologists have been sent to parents to help them with their children’s grief, she said.

A tree-planting ceremony will be held in Jayden’s honor, Harper said, but a date has not been set yet.

“Even though he wasn’t a student very long, it’s still important that we cherish his memory, that we honor him,” Harper said.

Harper said the school district has been in close contact with the Rivards and she said Landyn will be welcomed into the school system when he is old enough.

“We look forward to welcoming him into our school community,” Harper said. “We consider him a member of the community already.”

Reach David McLellan at dmclellan@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 268.


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