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Fatal Crash Devastates Family

Lawunmi Olabisi-Barbington was a woman of few words, but she had a lot to celebrate, as she was working toward her law degree and her family was thriving. Her son was a very popular boy in his Anoka High School class.

In a split second, the dreams of the family were shattered because their van was struck in north Minneapolis on Interstate 94 by a vehicle that had already been involved in a collision. The van would roll several times before it would come to a stop and the end result would be three family members dead. Olabisi-Barbington, her son, and Modupe Olabisi were all killed in the fatal crash. Seun Eperutolu-Barbington was 16 and Modupe Olabisi was 80.

Now there is a community in Coon Rapids mourning this family, as well as a church in south Minneapolis rallying around a mourning family.

At Anoka High School, Seun was a football player and ran track. Because he was so popular with the other students, many of them are mourning and sharing stories about a boy who touched their lives. Everyone knew him and said he was the type of kid who would give the jacket off of his back if a student didn’t have one. He was the type of person others wanted to be around.

A sophomore at the high school, Seun dreamed of going to college and had just visited Minnesota State University in Mankato, although he was still over two years from finishing high school. His mother had stressed to him how important school was. His mother held a master’s degree in sociology from the University of Minnesota and was looking at law schools before she died.

This was a family that loved the Twin Cities.

It was the University of Minnesota that brought the family from Nigeria to the United States. Another sister, an Arizona resident, had attended the university 35 years ago. When her siblings visited her, they fell in love with the area and would make the move ten years after that. Only one brother lives in Nigeria.

The driver of the van, John Barbington, 52, is in serious condition that took his wife, son, and mother-in-law. He is known in their neighborhood as a “caregiver.” He takes care of other adults for a Brooklyn Park home health agency. His mother-in-law was a nurse practitioner in Nigeria, but never got a license in the United States.

It was Olabisis, a woman of very few words, who made a very big impact in lives without speaking many words. Approximately 19 years ago, she was involved in another I-94 accident in Minneapolis. Her car was struck by a drunk driver and she lost use of one arm. However, she learned to live without it.

Other members of the family who survived the crash but were in the hospital include Fisayo Barbington, 15; Faith Barbington, 12; Tobi Barbington, 5; and Oluremi Ogundare, 61.

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