‘We are overwhelmed with grief and absolutely confused. The pain I feel is like no pain I’ve ever felt, it’s indescribable’
An Alberta paramedic was called last week to respond to a horrific car crash that fatally injured her daughter — a situation she described as her “worst nightmare.”
Jayme Erickson said she and her partner were dispatched to a serious two-vehicle accident outside of Airdrie on Nov. 15 around 4:30 p.m. They arrived to find two patients with injuries, one of them a teenage girl who was seriously injured and trapped in the car. Erickson said she did her best to tend to the victim — who appeared to be her daughter — while firefighters pulled her from the wreckage.
“Her injuries were so horrific I didn’t even recognize her,” Erickson said in an emotional Facebook post recounting the event.
Critically injured, the girl was taken by STARS air ambulance to Calgary’s Foothills Medical Center, and Erickson went home when her shift ended.
It wasn’t until RCMP knocked on her door “minutes after she got home that Erickson realized the young girl she attended was her 17-year-old daughter, Montana.
“My worst nightmare as a paramedic had come true… The critically injured patient I had just treated was my own flesh and blood. My only child. My mini-me. My daughter, Montana,” she wrote.
The officers took Erickson to the hospital to see her daughter. There, she said medical staff told her that her daughter’s injuries were “not compatible with life.” Montana died in hospital on November 18, three days after the accident.
“We are overwhelmed with grief and absolutely confused. The pain I feel is like no pain I’ve ever felt, it’s indescribable,” Erickson said.
Erickson said Montana’s life was cut way too short and she can’t help but be angry about the short time they were given together.
“(Seventeen) years was not long enough. Although I am grateful for the 17 years I had with her, I am devastated and wonder: What would have become of you, my little girl? Who would you have been? I will never see you graduate and walk across the stage, I will never see you get married, I will never know who you would have been,” she wrote.
“I love you more than anything in this world (yes, including the goats my girl!). I will cherish the memories we made and the time we had together. I’m broken I’m broken I miss a piece of me. I am left to pick up the pieces and am expected to carry on.”
A friend of the family, Lindsay Sandalack, organized an online fundraiser to support the family through the loss of their only child. Within just a few hours of being posted Monday afternoon, the fundraiser had raised more than $8,000.
“As Sean and Jayme begin to rebuild a life without their beloved daughter, we want to be there to help them through and ease any financial stress they can possibly imagine,” Sandalack wrote on the GoFundMe page. “These will be tough times to navigate and we want their futures free of financial hardship – whether it’s taking time to heal, to build their beloved farm, or to help live on Montana’s legacy.”
Erickson’s employer, Alberta Health Services, said it all EMS personnel, including family members, can seek help through its peer support programs, including a crisis response team and Employee and Family Assistance Plan team available to provide immediate support.
“Alberta Health Services EMS sends our deepest condolences to the family involved in this tragic event,” the statement said.
The two-vehicle crash occurred in a rural area west of Airdrie on Nov. 15, closing the intersection at Big Hill Springs Road and Range Road 24 for nearly five hours on Nov. 15. The driver of the car Montana was in was also hospitalized in stable condition. and the driver of the other vehicle suffered minor injuries.
RCMP say an investigation into the crash is still ongoing.
The Health Sciences Association of Alberta, the union representing paramedics, declined to comment on the matter.