A family of four was found dead in Idaho after their 17-year-old daughter fell asleep behind the wheel of their car and drove off a cliff into the Salmon River. 

Calvin ‘CJ’ Miller, 36, decided to take his three children from their home in Spokane, Washington to visit his ailing father, who is in hospice care in Council, Idaho.

The four set out on a 275-mile journey south.

By the time they reached Riggins, Idaho – 60 miles north of their destination – Miller’s teenage daughter Dakota was behind the wheel, with his two youngest, Jack, 10, and eight-year-old Delilah, in the back.

Police said Dakota fell asleep Saturday on a curvy road and the vehicle went off a cliff, falling 30 feet into a river.

Calvin Miller, 36, was killed on Saturday driving to visit his father in Council, Idaho

Dakota Miller, 17, was driving at the time

Calvin Miller, 36, was killed on Saturday driving to visit his father in Council, Idaho: his daughter Dakota, 17 (right) was behind the wheel

Delilah Miller, eight, and 10-year-old Jack Miller (right) are pictured with their four-year-old brother Barrett. Delilah and Jack were found dead in a car crash on Saturday in Idaho

The family were killed north of Riggins, Idaho, on Saturday - 154 miles north of Boise

The family were killed north of Riggins, Idaho, on Saturday – 154 miles north of Boise

A fisherman found their car partially submerged in the river.

‘Dakota drove off the highway, striking a large pile of rocks sending the vehicle airborne,’ the accident report said.

‘The vehicle struck another large pile of rocks, flipping the vehicle over end and landing upside down in the Salmon River.’

Deputies believe water filled the vehicle through a broken window, causing the family to drown, the report said.

Zella Blair, Miller’s ex and the mother of Jack and Delilah, said the children were ‘my whole life’.

‘I don’t know if I can get used to them not coming through the door after school and yelling for me again,’ she told KREM 2 News.

‘They were huge. They were my whole life.’

Zella Blair, the mother of Jack and Delilah, said she was devastated by the loss

Zella Blair, the mother of Jack and Delilah, said she was devastated by the loss

Delilah, eight; Barrett, four; and 10-year-old Jack are pictured with their mother Zella Blair

Delilah, eight; Barrett, four; and 10-year-old Jack are pictured with their mother Zella Blair

Blair said she dropped off the pair off on Friday afternoon with their father as usual, but did not know Miller intended to take the three children to see his father Idaho.

Miller’s girlfriend Amberlynn told her what happened.

‘I just dropped to my knees,’ said Blair.

‘I just started crying. I couldn’t believe it.’

Blair said her heart goes out to Amberlynn, who was a loving stepmother.

‘I feel really bad for Amber though because she did lose all four people of her household,’ said Blair.

‘Even though they weren’t they weren’t her blood kids. She was always really great to them. Calvin and Amber were always wonderful.’

Calvin Miller is pictured with his girlfriend, Amberlynn. She was not in the car that crashed

Calvin Miller is pictured with his girlfriend, Amberlynn. She was not in the car that crashed

Scott Henri, Amberlynn’s stepfather, praised Miller as ‘a truly exceptional human being’.

‘His kind heart and sensitive soul, not to mention his amazing sense of humor, brought a richness to our lives that can’t be replaced,’ said Henri.

‘He’d found his soul mate in Amberlynn, he fiercely loved her and all of his children and family.’

Henri said Dakota had ‘a generous and caring heart’, and was looking forward to her life beyond high school.

He continued: ‘Jack just turned 10 and was so proud to be in the double digits. He was so smart, loved to read, could figure anything out and was going to make waves in the world.

‘Our sweet Delilah, Calvin’s younger daughter, would have been nine in August.

‘She was so creative, loved to draw and color and was talented.’

He said she was ‘funny and sweet, always making sure everyone was taken care of’.

Blair said she was struggling to come to terms with the loss of her two oldest children.

She said Jack and Delilah were incredible older siblings to their younger brother, Barrett, Blair’s four-year-old son from another relationship.

‘I’m just gonna miss so much, just being able to just go give them a hug and go give them a kiss and talk to them about their day,’ said Blair.

‘And just little conversations because it just made my heart full.

‘You know, just to hear all the little things they were learning and everything they were becoming, day by day.’

Blair’s fiance, Taylor Schaefer-Bishop, said Jack and Delilah made him grow up as a man.

Taylor Schaefer-Bishop, the fiance of Zella Blair, said her children Jack and Delilah taught him how to be a father

Taylor Schaefer-Bishop, the fiance of Zella Blair, said her children Jack and Delilah taught him how to be a father

‘I’ve had to really be the foundation for her,’ he said.

‘Before I met them, I wasn’t a father. I had no experience being a dad.

‘They honestly inspired me to be the man that I am today, step up in those shoes and become a father figure.’

He said he will miss teaching them new skills.

‘Just a month ago, I was teaching the kids how to swim,’ Schaefer-Bishop said.

‘I taught Jack how to split firewood. I mean, Jack and Delilah, we were all gardening for like the last couple months. 

‘We’ve been spending a lot of time gardening in the backyard and just doing a lot of landscaping and you know, foraging for mushrooms and I was teaching them how to shoot guns.’

DailyMail

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