An Airdrie-area paramedic who responded to her own teenaged daughter’s fatal motor vehicle accident last week in Rocky View County says she will never be able to fill the hole in her heart left by her child’s death.
Jayme Erickson held a press conference at Chinook Winds Fire Station in Airdrie on Nov. 22 to thank her fellow EMS colleagues, other local first responders, and members of the general public who have provided her family with support after the tragic loss of her 17-year-old daughter, Montana Dobry, last week.
“I know all of my co-workers are parents as well,” said Erickson, flanked by her husband Sean and brother Derek Seidel. “They know that this is our worst fear, and I know they would not wish it upon anybody. They understand, and even though it is not their daughter – it is their daughter. They understand the pain and the hole I feel in my heart. Their support is amazing, and it is overwhelming.”
Erickson remembered Montana as a “firecracker” of a person, a fierce friend to those who knew her, a champion swimmer who once finished fifth at the national Canadian junior championships, and an aspiring lawyer.
“She meant the world to all of us,” she said. “She was a fighter, and she fought until the day that she died. And she was beautiful. She was so beautiful.”
Before Erickson spoke to the media about her personal loss on Tuesday, longtime family friend Richard Reid provided some additional details about the tragic incident on Nov. 15.
Erickson’s EMS vehicle had been the first on the scene of the head-on collision west of Airdrie along Big Hill Springs Road. She had crawled into the crushed vehicle to help extricate and stabilize the two young female victims in the car who had just been returning from a dog walk at Big Hill Springs Provincial Park. The first young victim was extricated fairly quickly and was taken to hospital.
The other girl was trapped and needed to be extricated with the Jaws of Life. It took about 20 minutes before the victim, who Erickson did not recognize as her own daughter because of the extent of her injuries, could be extricated from the vehicle. Erickson had remained with Montana for that entire time attempting to stabilize her until she was finally evacuated by a STARS air ambulance to Foothills hospital in Calgary.
It was only later when police knocked at her door at home that Erickson was told her daughter had been in a car accident. To her horror, Erickson realized her daughter had been the second girl involved in the incident she had just responded to.
Police quickly rushed her and husband Sean to hospital. Unfortunately, the family was informed, there was nothing more doctors could do, given the extent of Montana’s injuries.
Even then Montana, a loving friend who believed strongly in community, had one last gift to give, according to Erickson.
“She was able to donate her organs,” Erickson told reporters. “Of her organs, two of them that were donated were lifesaving. We are so happy to know that our baby girl is living on through others, and in the wake of this tragedy, she has saved other people.”
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to support the family to help pay for the funeral costs and to help provide economic support for the family, who have a long grieving period ahead. To support the Erickson family visit gofundme.com/f/the-erickson-family.