MEGLER — A Washington State Patrol trooper came to the rescue of a German family after the Fourth of July.

WSP Sgt. Brad Moon and his family welcomed a family visiting from Germany over the holiday weekend. Moon was one of the troopers who responded to help the family after their truck and travel trailer tipped over into a ditch near Megler.

“It felt right and my wife agreed, which is why we did it,” Moon said.

The crash

On July 5, a family visiting from Germany was headed south on State Route 401 near Megler, when they struck something in the road. The driver, Benjamin Fischer, pulled the family’s truck and travel trailer to the right hand side of the road, where the vehicles got stuck in the shoulder’s soft ground.

Soon after, the truck and trailer’s wheels gave way, causing the vehicles to tip over into a ditch on the side of the road.

No one was hurt in the crash, but the truck and trailer were totaled.

The Fischers

Benjamin and wife Melanie were traveling with their children Jackob, Emilie, Linus, and Eli. The kids range from 7 to 15 years old.

The Fischers were visiting from Oldenburg, Germany. The family spent the past year traveling the U.S. in their truck and travel trailer. At the time of the crash, they were just two miles away from the last state on their tour: Oregon.

The family’s trip began in Florida, and has been documented on their Youtube channel “50 in 365.” Link:

“We’ve been able to see some things and meet some people we wouldn’t have otherwise met,” Melanie said.

The family are all dual citizens. Benjamin and Melanie studied in the U.S., and moved the family to Germany about 10 years ago. After one of their children told the couple he didn’t remember the U.S., the parents decided to take the kids on the trip.

Throughout their travels, some of the family’s adventures have included being extras in the upcoming “Little Women” movie, donating their hair to Locks of Love, and visiting numerous national parks and monuments.

“We wanted the trip to be educational but also fun,” Benjamin said.

The family intended to finish their trip in the Redwoods of California, then go to Utah to visit family, and sell the truck and trailer before flying home. They instead will leave Cathlamet later this week after they’ve finished consolidating their belongings. Afterward, they’ll drive a rented minivan the rest of the way.

While in Oregon, the family plans to visit filming sites for “The Goonies.” They’ll drive from Astoria along the coast, visiting places like Cannon Beach.

“We’re hoping to still do most of the things we had been planning to do,” Benjamin said.

The Fischers also planned to visit Hawaii before returning home, but will instead do so another time because of the expenses incurred in the accident, Benjamin said.

Helping hand

Moon offered to take in the Fischers for the weekend at their Cathlamet home. The family joined Moon, his wife Shawna, their four children and the Moon’s in-laws for the holiday weekend. The Moons’ boys, who include Isaac, Eli, Gabe and Josh, range in age from 9 to 17 years old.

Shawna picked up the family from the crash site.

“We just saw a family in need that had just lost nearly everything, and we felt that we could reach out and help them,” Moon said. “It’s just doing my job and helping in any way we can.”

In Moon’s 17-plus years of service, he’d never had an experience like his with the Fischers.

“It’s been easy. The kids have gotten along and it’s been a lot of fun,” Moon said. “The kids have stepped up to help out.”

During the weekend, the Fischers and Moons shared meals, stories and games. The two families also celebrated Benjamin’s 42nd birthday.

“We can’t put into words how thankful we are for their hospitality and friendship,” Benjamin said. “They helped the kids get over a traumatic experience.”

Moon said the experience has made an impact on both families. Moon’s youngest son, who is 9, told him and Shawna he wants to study German in high school.

“My heart is full. We ask our employees every day to earn their badge. This goes above and beyond earning their badge,” said WSP District 8 Capt. James Mjor. “I am glad he is on our team as one of our leaders, setting the example for law enforcement.”

Mjor said Moon helping the Fischers is an example of how he’s typically acted throughout his career.

Alyssa Evans is a staff writer for the Chinook Observer. Contact her at 360-642-8181 or

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